EAST HARLEM—New York City inspectors spent hours inside the boulevard house homeless shelter in East Harlem. Some of the men who stay there, say they are filled with concern over their personal safety following Wednesday’s murder of a resident in his bedroom.
Homeless men living inside the Boulevard House Shelter were forced to stand outside Friday evening, as armed city inspectors scoured the facility looking for contraband.
“I’m outside because we’re waiting to get safe to go in,” said shelter resident Ronald Benticinique.
Security here is now a major concern— after police say a homeless ex-teacher, Deven Black, was fatally stabbed in his neck Wednesday following an altercation with Anthony White, who is still on the loose.
“He slept like twenty feet away from me in another room, down the hall, but it’s only twenty feet away, in a two man room,” said Benticinque.
Shelter safety remains a key concern for thousands of homeless men and women—and this shelter for men with mental illness, operated by the Bowery Residence Committee—is no stranger to activity.
“There’s a problem in this whole area. From 125. Over here they call it K2 alley,” said shelter resident Carlton Archer.
We were here last September, reporting on the K2 synthetic drug crisis, when we witnessed a man suffering from a heroin overdose— wheeled right out of this very same shelter.
“There’s so much stuff that happens. There was a stabbing over there by Pathmark. A kid was shot in the face right there, across the street on 123rd. There’s a lot of things that’s happening. Between this corner and that corner—it’s deadly,” said Archer.
The murder suspect, Anthony White, reportedly made threats he was going to kill someone in the shelter.
The victim’s son, Jonas, wrote on his Facebook wall saying, “It is hard not to hate the man who took my father away from me, but ultimately I see my father’s killer as another victim. Had there been adequate mental health infrastructure in place, this tragedy would not have happened.”
We saw no fewer than three or four officers performing inspections at the front door, behind the metal detectors.But how long it will last before it returns to normal protocol is unknown.