On September 13, I stood on the grounds of Gracie Mansion, home to Mayor Bill de Blasio, alongside other homeless New Yorkers and advocates. We protested the mayor’s decision to remove hundreds of us from the Lucerne Hotel on West 79th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, giving in to the demands of neighbors who objected to us being there despite the fact that we were moved to the hotel to keep us safe from coronavirus. The mayor’s original plan would have resulted in the domino displacement of hundreds of other homeless New Yorkers, including families with children, people with disabilities, people suffering from substance use disorder, and people with mental health issues.
The mayor heard our message, and he put a temporary pause on moving all of us. But ultimately, they decided to kick us out of the Lucerne in the coming weeks, and the entire experience has caused our anxiety to rise.