New York City’s biggest police union, the Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA) is targeting one of the city’s most vulnerable populations: the homeless. SBA President Ed Mullins urged members in a memo this week to take photos of the “city’s decline”.

Over 200 photos collected from SBA’s email were uploaded to the SBA’s Peek-A-Boo Flicker account as a form of public shaming. The Flickr stunt was an attempt to draw attention to “quality of life offenses” and create accountability across the board with members of the current mayoral administration. Mullins has a history of publicly feuding with current mayor Bill De Blasio.

HuffPo Live host Zerlina Maxwell led a roundtable discussion on the account this morning with guests Bernard Kerik, a former NYPD Commissioner, Lindsey Davis, the Director of Crisis Services at Coalition for the HomelessJennifer Flynn, the Executive Director at VOCAL-NY, and Nikki Johnson-Houston, a tax attorney and founder of DONAFY.

Photo of a homeless woman uploaded to SBA's Flicker account, via Flickr.. Image 1.Photo of a homeless woman uploaded to SBA's Flicker account, via Flickr.

Kerik told Maxwell, "I do not agree with [the account], it’s embarrassing. It’s infringing on people’s rights.” While Flynn denounced the account "as a political move" and that it "sends a message that they're only policing for a couple of us."

Photo of a homeless man uploaded to SBA's Flicker account, via Flickr.. Image 2.Photo of a homeless man uploaded to SBA's Flicker account, via Flickr.

All guests agreed that the "real solution to homelessness is [permanent] housing", which would not only remove people from the streets and limit their chances of going back, but would be more humane and cost-effective in the long run. Flynn remains hopeful that should rent subsidies increase and city housing be prioritized, homelessness in New York City could end in the next 5-8 years. 

 

Facts about the Homeless in New York city:

 According to the Coalition for the Homeless, 25,000 children were homeless in New York last year.

 Mayor De Blasio has been making robocalls to landlords offering a $1,000 bonus for opening up apartments to “responsible" homeless families.

 New York City started this year with $6 billion surplus.

Cover: Flickr