Locals have listed numerous reasons why they don’t like a new homeless shelter that was installed in two buildings on West 95th Street last month. But some of the shelter residents are peeved too — in part because they can’t afford the food in the nearby stores.
Casey Tolan, a reporter for the Columbia Spectator, talked to some residents, including Julian and Reyes Thrasher:
The spartan rooms at the Thrashers’ shelter have uncomfortable bunk beds, small refrigerators, shared bathrooms and kitchens, and not much else. Julian, who is 58, has broken his back in three places, “so I can’t be going up and down bunk beds,” he said.
The hardest thing for the Thrashers is that they don’t have enough money for food. With $39 per month in food stamps, Upper West Side food prices are out of their budget, and they aren’t allowed to cook or even have a microwave in their room.
“I’ve got to go back to the neighborhood [the Bronx] to shop for food,” Reyes said, adding that she goes to her mother’s home in the Bronx when she needs to cook something. Julian said that he doesn’t have any family left.
Another resident also noted that the city could be using the $3,300 it spends on each shelter unit every month for better accommodations.
With the amount of money the city is paying for the rooms, Carson added, “you could find some good apartments in Brooklyn somewhere.”