A homeless woman recently confronted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at a local YMCA, asking him to build more affordable housing. The mayor couldn’t be bothered.
A video posted to YouTube on Friday shows the 72-year-old woman — whom the Park Slope, Brooklyn Patch identified as Nathylin Flowers Adesegun — walking up to Bill de Blasio as he’s stretching prior to his morning workout, and asking him to commit to building new affordable housing units to combat his city’s homelessness epidemic.
“I’m doing my workout… I can’t do this now,” the mayor of America’s largest city told the homeless woman.
Adesegun was part of a contingent of homeless activists who were to the YMCA to ask de Blasio to build 30,000 new affordable housing units designated specifically for homeless New Yorkers, according to the Patch.
“He made it clear that his morning workout was more important to him,” Adesegun said. “Am I just supposed to stay homeless?”
“Mayor de Blasio may love working out, but his plan for housing homeless New Yorkers is just weak,” Giselle Routhier, policy director for the Coalition for the Homeless, told Patch. “This is simply unacceptable and perpetuates the ‘Tale of Two Cities’ he vowed to fix.”
New York City has the nation’s highest homeless population with nearly 130,000 people (including 45,000 children) sleeping in the city’s homeless shelters throughout 2017, according to data from the Coalition for the Homeless. The Department of Housing and Urban Development found that New York City has roughly 20,000 more homeless people than Los Angeles, which ranks #2 in the nation in homeless population.
As of March of this year, there were approximately three vacant apartments for very homeless person in New York. Mayor de Blasio created the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program, which lets developers build larger apartment buildings if a certain percentage of units are deemed to be affordable housing. However, Patch reported that “affordable” housing at 15 Bridge Park in the Brooklyn Heights still requires tenants to have an annual income of approximately $200,000.
Scott Alden is a freelance contributor covering national politics, education, and environmental issues. He is a proud Toledo University graduate, and lives in the suburbs of Detroit.