Saturday, March 31th, 2012. New York City – On Sunday, March 25th, 2012, the New York Post ran an inaccurate, misleading, and inflammatory article about the work of Picture the Homeless, implying that homeless people (more than 90% of whom are Black and Latino) are all pimps, vagrants, thieves, and addicts. And because PTH believes in building power for homeless people to fight back, they’re trying hard to destroy them.
But it’s not just homeless people that the Post hates. They also hate Blacks, Latinos, Occupiers, Muslims, Undocumented immigrants.
In fact, in the past ten years, they’ve written FOUR editorials bashing Picture the Homeless, calling them “vagrants with lawyers” and “smelly.”
The New York Post also:
*Runs op-ed pieces telling Blacks and Latinos that if they don’t want to be stopped-and-frisked by the cops, they shouldn’t commit so many crimes;
*Endorses the unconstitutional NYPD surveillance of Muslims;
*Calls Black elected officials “race hustlers” for protesting the murder of Trayvon Martin.
*Accuses Occupy Wall Street protesters of “raping and robbing and drug-dealing,” “terminally annoying drumming,” and spreading “litter and other filth.”
That’s why on Sunday, April 1st, 2012 at 12pm, Picture The Homeless and allies will have an Emergency Press Conference and Rally at 110th Street and Lexington Avenue in East Harlem.
NY City Council Moves to Freeze Critical Not-For-Profit Funding; Homeless People Fight Back
Supporters challenge politically motivated move spurred by misinformation in recent New York Post article.
Picture the Homeless was “informed” by the NY Post on Friday, March 30, that The Post had obtained a leaked letter from the New York City Council directing the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to freeze PTH funding in the wake of a misleading and racially-charged article the Post ran last Sunday. Picture the Homeless has not received any letter or other communication from the City Council regarding this matter, though HPD officials contacted PTH on Thursday and directed PTH to turn over certain business records.
Picture the Homeless and supporters will gather tomorrow, April 1, 2012, at noon, outside a full block of abandoned buildings at 110th Street and Lexington Avenue in East Harlem, to respond to these attacks on its funding and work and to highlight the real issue at hand for the majority of New Yorkers – an issue that this Administration has failed to resolve – the housing crisis.
“Unsubstantiated allegations should not be the basis for the loss of public funds,” said City Council Member Letitia James. “Until an independent investigation is completed, Picture the Homeless should continue receiving public funds. They serve a vulnerable population and are addressing crucial issues – especially at a time when the housing crisis is causing homelessness to increase at a devastating rate.”
Last Sunday, the New York Post’s article “Squat the Heck” inaccurately resported that the organization has used taxpayer money to train homeless people to engage in criminal activity, and implied that homeless people (more than 90% of whom are Black and Latino) are all pimps, vagrants, thieves, and addicts. This racially-charged and inflammatory article led to a barrage of hate mail and abusive phone calls aimed at PTH, as well as extensive racist commentary in white supremacist blogs.
“If this is true, it’s an outrage that the City Council would move to freeze our funding as a result of unfounded and inflammatory allegations,” said Lynn Lewis of Picture the Homeless. “The funding that Picture the Homeless receives from HPD is money well spent. We are creating solutions to the housing crisis, and providing critical support to homeless New Yorkers and communities harmed by the failure of this Administration to address the housing crisis. We challenge the Mayor to explain why the Department of Homeless Services spent 1 Billion dollars of taxpayer money last year when there is a wealth of untapped resources in communities hit the hardest by the housing crisis – this summer, counting vacant property in collaboration with Hunter College, we found enough space in a third of the city to potentially house 199,981 New Yorkers.”
Picture the Homeless Board Member Ryan Gibbs said, “New York City has spent nearly three billion dollars in the past four years on a broken shelter system where homeless people are warehoused instead of focusing on housing. This is the real issue at hand- not that the city spent 240,000 dollars the last five years on an organization working towards a change in housing policy.”
“A team of legal allies are working with PTH to respond to this attack on what amounts to over 10% of PTH’s annual budget,” said attorney Gideon Oliver, the current President of the New York City Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. “Until we see this alleged letter from the City Council, we can’t predict what the next steps might be, but this business of leaked letters and unilateral directives to freeze funding smacks of backdoor politics and raises serious Due Process and other legal concerns. We are considering all options, including litigation.”
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In addition, PTH will be tweeting updates from the press conference. Follow www.twitter.com/pthny