Monday, December 22, 2014

Follow us:
Follow @NY1 on Twitter Follow NY1 News on Facebook Follow NY1 News on Google+ Subscribe to this news feed 


City Relocates Families in Two Shelters Cited for Unsafe Conditions

  • Text size: + -
TWC News: City Relocates Families in Two Shelters Cited for Unsafe Conditions
Play now

Time Warner Cable video customers:
Sign in with your TWC ID to access our video clips.

out of 10

Free Video Views Remaining

To get you to the stories you care about, we are offering everyone 10 video views per month.

Access to our video is always free for Time Warner Cable video customers who login with their TWC ID.

  To view our videos, you need to
enable JavaScript. Learn how.
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.

Then come back here and refresh the page.

After years of complaints, the de Blasio adminsitration is looking to remove families with children from two notorious homeless shelters, but the question now is, where are they going to go? NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

Josefina Blanco has four children and another one on the way.

"In March, I'm going to have baby," she said.

For the past three years, this family has been living at the Catherine Street homeless shelter, the largest shelter for homeless families with children in the city. They use communal bathrooms.

Residents claim that they come face to face with sexual predators.

"Nobody's safe in here," Blanco said. "Who's going to be safe in here?"

Similar stories are echoed across the East River in Fort Greene at the Auburn Family Shelter.

"I got to sit in here where there's rats going around. You have to be scared if one of them bites you," said Summer Northcutt, who is staying at the Auburn Family Shelter. "You have to be careful, 'cause they have ringworm, bed bugs and lice in that building."

On Friday, the city announced it would be moving families like these out, that these mammoth buildings, where hundreds of the homeless sleep every night, were not suitable for children. Instead, the city would find them another place to live.

"We had to think very quickly about what's right and what's best for children," said Homeless Services Commissioner Gilbert Taylor.

It's unclear so far where exactly they will be going.

"We can find shelters. We can find shelter units for families with children that will better meet the developmental needs of those children and will improve the experience of the families themselves," Taylor said.

When NY1 checked in with one of those alternatives, another city shelter in Flatlands, residents like 13-year-old Nigeria Ingram say it may not be the best option.

"It's dirty," Ingram said. "You see roaches. You see mice. It's a lot."

NY1 made multiple requests to gain access to these shelters with our cameras to see the conditions ourselves, but City Hall declined, citing privacy reasons.

Advocates say the best options for families with kids would be a housing voucher or giving families priority for public housing.

City Hall says they are working on a more permanent solution. The details are still being worked out. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP