The homeless disabled of New York are our cities shame

Whenever you read newspapers about New York’s homeless they talk about the mentally disabled but you never hear about the physically disabled, and as a wheelchair using person who has a hard enough time just making my way around the streets the thought of sleeping on them terrifies me and I’m not easily terrified.
On a regular basis I have been having breakfast at 7.30 am on the corner of 12th and Broadway across the corner from Strand books. This last Wednesday I got a table facing out the window and I noticed for the first time that a large group of homeless sleep along the wall of the strand bookstore.
As the dozen or so bodies began to rise I noticed one waking up but not rising, then as the others moved their meager belongings I noticed a very old very broken wheelchair held together by tape and string folded against the wall. It occurred to me that the wheelchair belonged to the one body not rising, a couple of hours later I was rolling around the markets when two men came up beside me one was pushing the other and I recognized the chair it was the one from beside strand books.
I was introduced to the occupier of the chair I won’t print his name but we chatted he asked me how to get a better chair I asked what his diagnosis was he told me he was paraplegic and had been homeless for four years he had been in a couple of shelters but had been molested and beaten so he had to choose between the safety of the streets and three hots and a cot and a kicking. He decided he could protect himself better in a broken chair sleeping beside a book shop better than a sitting target in a locked room guarded by rent a cops who didn’t care.
I can’t save everyone, but this one I’ll win I have him going to CIDNY for housing benefits and medical and hopefully a new chair. Next time you hear about homeless people don’t automatically assume they want to be there because unless you’re paraplegic and lying on the sidewalk with a box for your home you have never experienced sheer terror, for imagine how out of control the shelter system must have been for that to have been the lesser of two evils.

Author: disabledaccessdenied

I am a disabled woman who through no fault of my own has wheels under my ass. I rely on the decency and common sense of local, state and federal goverments, as well as the retail community to abide by the disabled access laws and provide adequate ramps, disabled toilets, and not use them as store rooms or broom closets. This blog exists to find the offenders and out them, inform them, and report them if necessary and shame them into doing the right thing when all else fails.

2 thoughts on “The homeless disabled of New York are our cities shame”

  1. Barrier Free Living is the only shelter program for PWDs. They are in the process of opening supportive housing in the south Bx. 270 E 2nd St NYC, NY 10009 (212) 677-6668

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