The mayor has admitted that we will not solve homelessness in NYC for many years. Homelessness in parks is here to stay – for a while. How do we make that current reality work as best we can? How do we keep parks safe and working for everyone to enjoy in this period and not pit people against one another – especially against already marginalized and vulnerable groups?
The reality is that the homeless use our parks as…home. All hours. And there aren’t enough PEP officers or police patrols to change that fact.
One issue that comes up repeatedly is the need for functional bathrooms for park users. For the homeless it becomes even more important. Desperate people will use the park as a bathroom if there isn’t another viable option.
We think that we need our Park bathrooms to be accessible 24/7 with security personnel there at all times and a maintenance crew that can be summoned quickly if needed.
The United Nations recognizes the right to sanitation. How will NYC, our ‘progressive’ city, meet that ‘right’. How do we help people who have no home and/or no safe shelter maintain their dignity?
And …having public bathrooms that are clean and working for all New Yorkers and park visitors is kind of a good idea anyway.