Officials in New York City broke up a homeless encampment on the Lower East Side where Police arrested several homeless advocates who for hours had shielded a handful of homeless people from being removed.
Police have already cleared about 250 encampments around the city, according to reports. It’s part of mayor Eric Adams' cleanup of what he calls dirty and unsafe living conditions, but some of these people would not leave willingly.“I made a commitment that we were going to zero in on encampments so that people who are homeless can live with dignity,” Adams said last week on CNN. “There’s nothing dignified about living on the streets.”
“I don’t need a safe haven or a shelter. I need a home,” a homeless woman who identified her “professional name” as Cynthia Vee tells NBC4. She said that Mayor Adams' "heavy-handed tactics are not the answer to homelessness."
For hours, she and at least a dozen other homeless people resisted leaving their patch of Ninth Street, where they have been squatting for days. They had been notified to leave earlier in the day, told that the city was clearing out the space.
Vee and another man, Johnny Grima, were two of the people living inside tents on a block that had become known as "Anarchy Row." Both said that they were avoiding the shelter system in place, saying it is too dangerous.
"There's more vacant apartments in New York City than there are homeless people in the state," said Grima.
“I have something to say to Mayor Adams. Shelters — no. Safe havens — not quite. Apartments — that’s the one,” Vee said. “He’s the new guy. We’ll see. He’s a Democrat, but he’s also a cop."