Urge your elected officials to provide public restrooms and safe shelters
The coronavirus pandemic has cruelly reinforced the fact that housing is health care. Without the basic safety and privacy provided by stable housing, tens of thousands of New Yorkers experiencing homelessness have endured compounding risks for contracting and dying from COVID-19.
Months into the pandemic, the City is still failing to adequately protect homeless New Yorkers. People who are sleeping unsheltered on the streets face a dire lack of access to bathrooms where they can fulfill basic human functions and follow public health guidance to wash their hands regularly. Meanwhile, after the City finally moved many homeless adults out of crowded dorm-style shelters and into hotel rooms in order to protect them from the virus, Mayor de Blasio has recently indicated that he might move those people back into congregate shelters prematurely.
Protecting our most vulnerable neighbors and respecting their humanity must be our top priority throughout the pandemic. This is a moral imperative as well as a public health necessity: Our failure to give homeless New Yorkers the basic tools they need to live and function jeopardizes the progress New York City has made in combating the virus. Contact your elected officials now to urge them to provide public restrooms for people on the streets, and to resist the misguided and short-sighted calls to move people back into congregate shelters before it is safe to do so.