He Has Asthma and Cancer. But He Still Was Moved to a Crowded Shelter.


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He was not allowed to go back to his room to retrieve his possessions — which included a walker, a heart monitor, a nebulizer and other medical equipment — and was told they would be sent to his new shelter.

Mr. Garrett was the only passenger on the bus. It dropped him four miles away, at the Renaissance shelter in Crown Heights. There, he said, he was put in what he called a “holding pen” with about a dozen other people waiting to be processed. He was having trouble breathing. He went to stand outside. Hours later, he said, he was told that he would be sleeping in a 15-man room.

He proffered his letter from the city. “They said, ‘There’s nothing we can do,’” Mr. Garrett said.

It was almost 4 a.m. when Mr. Garrett paid for a cab back to the Indigo. There he was told once again that he could not stay.

The Department of Homeless Services declined to comment on his case, and the Bowery Residents’ Committee, which operates the Indigo, did not immediately respond to queries.

The Safety Net Project of the Urban Justice Center, which has been advocating for some of the people being transferred, said that the city told the nonprofit that Mr. Garrett was sent to a group shelter because the system would not hold a hotel bed for more than 48 hours. But Peter Malvan, an advocate with the organization, said that the city was still obligated to honor the exemption Mr. Garrett had received from being sent to a group shelter, and that it had failed to do so.

At the Indigo, Mr. Garrett asked to go upstairs and get his belongings, which had never left his room. He was told that they would be brought down. Nine hours later, they were — in six transparent trash bags that were dumped unceremoniously on the curb beside the hotel’s garbage.

He took a quick inventory. A speaker and a tablet appeared to be missing, along with two suits and some cash.


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