Trans activists rally to demand NYC honor shelter agreement

Trans activists rallied Friday in Foley Square, demanding that New York City honor a settlement to build shelters for transgender and gender nonconforming people.

Edric Robinson

Jun 28, 2024, 9:29 PM

Updated 19 days ago

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Trans activists rallied Friday in Foley Square, demanding that New York City honor a settlement to build shelters for transgender and gender nonconforming people.
They claim these accommodations should have been in place about two years ago.
"Since taking office, Mayor Adams' administration has ignored all commitments made by the prior administration in black and white,” said Mariah Lopez, with the Strategic Trans Alliance for Radical Reform (S.T.A.R.R.)
Lopez stated that the group simply wants the city to follow a 2021 agreement to build four shelters. The settlement required the city to create safe shelters for trans people and train staff to follow a non-discrimination policy. However, speakers at the rally highlighted that this has not been happening, and many trans individuals are suffering as a result.
"There were plenty of nights we went back to the Department of Social Services, and they told us there was nothing they could do, so we had to sleep outside in our vehicle," shared Somayah Haskins.
Shauna Brooks added, "DHS failed me. The housing placement and the housing specialist discriminated against me because of who and what I was."
In response a spokesperson with the Department of Social Services said, “We are committed to creating a safe and welcoming environment for every LGBTQIA+ New Yorker who comes to us in need of shelter. Over the last several years, we have taken deliberate and proactive steps to create a more inclusive shelter system and we continue to work diligently to strengthen protections for LGBTQIA+ individuals and provide comprehensive, trauma-informed supports and services to this population. Additionally, DSS-DHS has set aside dedicated units in existing shelter facilities across the city to provide safe and affirming shelter for transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) clients, in compliance with this settlement.”
A source close to the department told News 12 NY, that the settlement requires DHS to either open a TGNC shelter or create TGNC shelter units with at least 30 beds across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. These units must be maintained until December 31, 2026, or until a TGNC affirming shelter is established in each borough. The source confirmed that the agency has created and operates TGNC units in all required boroughs and is committed to opening a standalone TGNC affirming shelter.


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