WE DEMAND THE CITY IMMEDIATELY STOP ITS VIOLENT SWEEPS AND IMMEDIATELY PROVIDE HOUSING—GOOD, CLEAN, SAFE, COMMUNITY-CONTROLLED HOUSING—FOR EVERY UNHOUSED PERSON IN NEW YORK CITY
Cop-Mayor Eric Adams and his administration have begun a new systematic assault on our homeless friends and neighbors. At the end of March, the NYPD and the Department of Homeless Services, in coordination with the Department of Sanitation, began uprooting and destroying hundreds of encampments that countless of our homeless friends have relied on for housing and protection across the city After justified blowback, former NYPD Officer Mayor Adams lied through his teeth at a press conference, with promises of safe haven shelters that would take in our newly displaced comrades. The truth is very different. So many of our friends have been abandoned and had their means of shelter and their every belonging stolen and destroyed.
Those who have spent time inside the shelters, the supposed safe havens, confirm them to be abusive, hostile, and violent spaces. These are not safe nor havens. There is a reason so many of our neighbors and comrades choose the precarity of tent encampments over the assured misery of the shelter system. These shelters are merely a shameful means to hide—to remove from eyesight—our houseless neighbors, to hide the horrors of capital.
As such: We demand that the city immediately stop its violent sweeps and, further, provide housing—good, clean, safe, community-controlled housing—for every unhoused person in the city.
This drive to “clear” our houseless neighbors off of streets and sidewalks, out of their homes and out of our communities, is at the end of the day a project of real estate to protect and bolster property value. It is no secret that Cop-Mayor Eric Adams is well-funded by the real estate industry. In the eyes of developers and the banks upholding them, our houseless neighbors and comrades are a blight to be eradiced, a cancer in Pig-Mayor Adams’ words.
The eviction moratorium lapsed only a few months ago; it is imperative to understand how that relates to these sweeps. The wars being waged on the housed and unhoused alike are not distinct, but the very same war—class war waged against working class New York City—this is capital’s incessant pursuit of accumulation by dispossession. The tenant who is evicted and the tenant whose home is caught in these violent sweeps are the same tenant.
We call on organizations across the city to join this demand. It is the responsibility of the organizers and the organizations of the left to connect our shared struggles and this is an urgent opportunity we must take up. It’s only through these connections, and through the struggles, that we undertake and the counter institutions that we build, that we can amass the power we need to overcome the obstacles—capital—holding us back from liberation.
There are over 247,977 empty units in NYC alone. There are 91,271 unhoused people in this city. It costs a city more money to sweep tent encampments than it does to house the people being swept up in this violence. Do the math. Make it make sense. House our comrades. End the sweeps.
Solidarity with all oppressed peoples,
RENT REFUSERS NETWORK
BROOKLYN EVICTION DEFENSE
YOUTH ALLIANCE FOR HOUSING
PICTURE THE HOMELESS ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
MUSEUM OF RECLAIMED URBAN SPACE
NYC-DSA BRONX UPPER MANHATTAN CHAPTER
HOUSING ORGANIZERS FOR PEOPLE EMPOWERMENT (H.O.P.E.)
MI CASA RESISTE
NYC SHUT IT DOWN
ART AGAINST DISPLACEMENT
ASTORIA FOOD PANTRY
FREE STORE ASTORIA
NBK ESSENTIALS / NORTH BROOKLYN MUTUAL AID
WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK MUTUAL AID
EAST VILLAGE MUTUAL AID
GOWANUS MUTUAL AID
WORKERS ASSEMBLY AGAINST RACISM
OUTLIVE THEM NYC
CROWN HEIGHTS C.A.R.E COLLECTIVE
FRIEND OF A FRIEND
REVEREND FRANK MORALES
NYC ICE WATCH
ASTORIA MUTUAL AID NETWORK
RANK AND FILE ACTION (CUNY)
1. Via the Census Bureau’s Housing and Vacancy Survey – (2018) – https://www.6sqft.com/nearly-250000-nyc-rental-apartments-sit-vacant/
2. From The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness : “New York Homelessness Statistics” – https://www.usich.gov/homelessness-statistics/ny/
3. Via Curbed: “Encampment Sweeps Are Cruel Theater” (1 April 2022) https://www.curbed.com/2022/04/adams-homeless-sweeps-encampments.html