Grandma Quarantined at LaGuardia Hotel Treated More Like Inmate than Guest Amid COVID-19 Test Snag

The LaGuardia Plaza, about a block from the airport, looks from the outside like any hotel that caters to business travelers: a sweeping circular driveway and meticulously landscaped entrance leading to a shiny glass box on Ditmars Boulevard.

These days, however, a new kind of guest is staying at the Queens hotel: recent travelers placed there by the city hospital system to quarantine to stem the spread of COVID-19. And one such resident, Cynthia English, says the LaGuardia Plaza feels more like jail than a hotel.

Do right by homeless people: A novel idea for how to approach New Yorkers in deep distress

The recent debacle surrounding the city’s use of the Lucerne Hotel on the Upper West Side to shelter homeless men during the pandemic, and Mayor de Blasio’s Sept. 8 order to transfer the men out of that hotel in response to NIMBY — and, at times, outwardly racist — outcry from some community members, have brought to light the urgent need to devise and implement a well-reasoned and coherent approach to providing emergency shelter to homeless people at this phase of the COVID-19 crisis.

All we’ve gotten to date are reactive, whipsawing policies thrown together in response to public-health crises and political complaints.

Individuals and families experiencing homelessness in New York City have a legal right to shelter under the state Constitution. Even before the pandemic, the city’s severe shortage of housing affordable to low-income households fueled an ongoing homelessness crisis in our city. The unprecedented economic fallout from the pandemic has further exacerbated the crisis, and will undoubtedly fuel more suffering in the months and years to come.

Thank You for Making the 2020 Project: Back to School a Success!

Here’s something to feel good about: Thanks to your generous donations, our 13th annual Project: Back to School backpack and school supply drive was a huge success! 

Our goal was a fill 2,500 backpacks with all the things kids need to start the year off – notebooks, pens, pencils, folders, and more. But the support was so overwhelming, we were able to purchase even more supplies and distribute nearly 3,000 bags to kids in 35 shelters throughout New York’s five boroughs. That’s 3,000 – yes, 3,000 –children whose school year is off to a better start because of YOU! 

A boy smiles while holding up a blue backpack in his living room

A huge thank you to everyone who made this possible – to all of you who still took the time to consider the most vulnerable among us in these challenging times.

Special thanks to AIG who sponsored 1,000 backpacks filled with supplies – and to Hibercell for donating 120 backpacks!

A photo of two women standing in front of open cardboard boxes filled with school supplies holding up backpacks

Tonight, more than 19,000 homeless children will sleep in New York City shelters. Homeless kids already faced myriad challenges to succeeding in school, and these challenges have been compounded by the COVID crisis. 

Something as small as a backpack can make a huge difference in alleviating some of that stress.

Thank you for your ongoing support of Project: Back to School!

A girl in school clothes stands with her body facing sideways showing off the pink backpack on her back, smiling broadly

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