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‘I have slept under bridges.’ Advocates push for greater protection for city’s homeless population

Charisma White is a Brooklyn native who has been homeless before and now with the city’s recent move to increase public safety, she fears that this could be her fate again if she does not get permanent housing.

News 12 Staff

Apr 4, 2022, 11:28 PM

Updated 807 days ago

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Charisma White is a Brooklyn native who has been homeless before and now with the city’s recent move to increase public safety, she fears that this could be her fate again if she does not get permanent housing.
“I have slept on the train. I have slept under bridges,” White said Monday. “Sweeps and policing don’t address the fundamental question of where people can go.”
White’s story is similar to hundreds of New Yorkers who are a part of the homeless population.
New Yorkers experiencing homelessness say the city shelters are also not a viable option.
“The shelters are not in good condition. I have been robbed, attacked, assaulted,” White said.
Last week, Mayor Eric Adams announced his plans to create new safe havens with shelter access and other services for homeless individuals. White says that the process can also be long and confusing.
“We should have help from every agency to tell you the exact process,” she says. “Handing out a voucher or a piece of paper saying that a person can get an apartment, that’s not really helping.”
BronxWorks, an organization that runs safe havens and shelters, tells News 12 that although not all homeless individuals struggle with mental health, mental health intervention should be a factor in getting people off the streets.
“You can’t expect people to pull themselves up by the bootstraps if you never gave them the boots or the straps,” said White.


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