We were alarmed when we saw a tweet today retweeted by Picture the Homeless that said homeless people in city shelters would be evacuated without anywhere to go. Unable to contact the Department of Homeless Services (whose .gov website is, like all the others, down right now), we asked District 35 Council Member Letitia James, who is often involved with homeless issues, about it.
James has been briefed today on the situation of the homeless in regards to Hurricane Irene and assures us that this is not true.
Some homeless people will be moved, but not onto the street. The shelter in question is the 30th Street Adult Facility for Men (a.k.a the Bellevue Shelter). Located very close to the FDR on the East Side, it appears to be right in Flood Zone A.
James tells us that she was briefed this morning, and that:
“About 200 men are going to be evacuated from the Bellevue shelter [today]. They will be coming to a facility here in Brooklyn, on Bedford and Atlantic, and some are going to be taken to an armory in Bed Stuy and a couple of other places through out the city. They will be there until Monday, and then they will be returned to Bellevue.”
An evacuation of nursing homes and hospitals is also already underway; a mandatory evacuation of large parts of the city will begin tomorrow at 5:00 PM.