Coalition for the Homeless Statement on Fighting Racial Injustice

The following can be attributed to Dave Giffen, Executive Director of Coalition for the Homeless:

Coalition for the Homeless stands in solidarity with all those fighting against racial injustice in the wake of the horrific murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and countless other Black people.

Deep-rooted systemic racism continues to undercut our nation’s purported ideals of freedom and equality, and fuels the ongoing crises of mass homelessness, racial injustice, and violence inflicted upon communities of color. The events of the past few days are simply the most recent tragic examples of how a lack of accountability and a misguided sense of national priorities have fueled social and economic inequities for decades.

Homelessness is unequivocally a racial justice issue, and the fact that homeless New Yorkers are disproportionately people of color is only one manifestation of systemic racism. Inherent to Coalition for the Homeless’ mission to end homelessness is our daily work to identify and dismantle racism and all systemic oppression, and we fully recommit to this urgent task.

We will continue to protect the rights and safety of all New Yorkers without homes, and monitor their treatment by law enforcement while the nightly curfew remains in effect. While we are pleased to learn that the Department of Homeless Services has confirmed that people living unsheltered on the streets of NYC, as well as outreach workers, are exempt from the curfew, we believe that it is unacceptable for anyone to have to bed down on our streets, ever – let alone in the context of a deadly pandemic. The City must offer those sleeping on the streets and in the transit system immediate placement in single-occupancy hotel rooms to ensure their safety.

It is time for people of color to stop dying because of our failures, whether they manifest as unchecked racist violence, or simply as systemic and inhumane neglect.