Show of support for homeless, criticism for shelter sytem
Aug 30, 2014 | 8092 views | 0 0 comments | 148 148 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Homeless advocates rallied last week in support of residents at the Pan Am Shelter on Queens Boulevard.

The facility has been targeted by multiple protests in the past months, with signs and chants admonishing residents with phrases like "get a job" and "shame on you," and referring to them as "bums" and "vagrants."
"I've been here four months and keep getting denied for housing, telling me I'm not eligible," said Pan Am Hotel resident Amy Rojas. "I fell into this situation because I lost my job. They're not helping homeless people, we need permanent housing so we can look for and get a job. Here they keep pulling you back."
Immigrant organizations from the Asian and South Asian communities joined the rally to stress unity and underscore that the real problem is the lack of housing affordable for working-class New Yorkers.
"We do not condone the rhetoric shaming homeless individuals and families,” said Cathy Dang, executive director of CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities. “CAAAV believes that everyone has a right to housing and that we are all fighting together for that common goal."
New York City spent $1 billion on the shelter system in Fiscal Year 2013, but homeless advocates argue people don't benefit from being warehoused in facilities like the Pan Am Hotel. Shelter residents have little control over their lives, and families are transferred with little notice and against their will, uprooting and destabilizing families. 
"As I'm out here in Elmhurst, I see how these families are struggling at a broken down shelter system," said PTH member Andres Perez. "DHS is still not acknowledging the serious effect this has on children and families. Homeless people need housing, not shelters."

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