Politics

New York City under Mayor Bill de Blasio: Hell for churches

Charles Dickens, call your office.

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In several short years under Marxist Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City has gone from a bustling prosperous metropolitan mecca to a filth-ridden crime-filled cesspool of anarchy and violence. But, as New Yorkers voted Mayor de Blasio into office, they have only themselves to blame. Here’s an odious part of the issue.

On Wednesday, New Yorkers were given more reason for self-reproach, as a small 100-member Presbyterian church in Hell’s Kitchen found their doorway strewn with used syringes and worse. One wonders how many of the congregation of Trinity Presbyterian Church voted for Bill de Blasio.

“These people would come and crap all over the stairs!” a church member exclaimed Wednesday. “I don’t open it up anymore,” said another about the front entrance. “They were throwing syringes in there, smoking pot on the steps.”

“Every day I’m fighting these guys. I’ve had to put my foot in a few a**es!” said the church super. “Right now I’m like a security guard.”

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“It was never like this here all the years I work here,” said a church neighbor. “Last 15 years, never this bad. It’s going down fast.”

“They seem to be either selling drugs within the shelters, outside the shelters, and it’s causing a great deal of harassment, crime, you know, the neighborhood is feeling very unsafe for a lot of citizens,” a homeless worker commented to the press.

“I have seen so many drug deals go down,” another church neighbor told the press. “I don’t want those days to come back.” Sorry pal, they’re back with a vengeance because your fellow New Yorkers brought them back.

As someone who has run homeless shelters in churches, I have some insight on this subject. What is the old business axiom? “Location, location, location…” Same for homeless shelters. You cannot take people who may be trying to get their lives together while also dealing with addiction issues and put them in a location where drugs are available just outside the shelter doorstep. It’s planning for failure.

The shelter then becomes a seller’s market and attracts drug dealers. They in turn want to be close to their customer base and so take up residence in the neighborhood. You can guess the consequences. The church, as a spiritual center and a homeless shelter, is feeling the consequences now.

But, you ask, then where do you put these Dickensian refugees of de Blasio’s New York? Outside of New York. If churches or spiritual centers of any stripe outside of urban climes are serious about their mission, they will step up to the plate. I saw many churches pitch in and help in 2007 when I ran a homeless program in Salisbury, Maryland. Churches in decent neighborhoods, churches in the burbs, large churches and small churches all worked together there to help the homeless through their travails.

But the streets of Salisbury are not (thankfully for Salisbury) the mean streets of New York City. Until somebody, like the voters, realizes what kind of city government makes the homeless problem worse, New York will slide further down the drain and take churches with it. And at that point, Gothamites will be past the time when only prayer will do.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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