COVID Tore Through NYC Homeless Shelters. But Residents Were Kept in the Dark

Before COVID-19, life in the HELP Meyer men’s shelter on Wards Island could often be hostile, according to Alphonso Syville, who has lived there for the last decade.

But since the start of the pandemic, he said, whatever camaraderie existed among residents has all but evaporated, replaced by paranoia.

Residents say they are left in the dark about how many — or which — of them have become ill from coronavirus. Instead, they hear about cases through word of mouth.

“They’re definitely not telling us anything,” Syville said. “And it’s very scary.”

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