Police Destroy Huntington Tent City

Long Island Food Not Bombs Makes Call For Solidarity

Account from a member of Long Island Food Not Bombs

Call to action! Police raze Huntington Station Tent City, hundreds homeless and facing the possibility of freezing to death! Long Island Food Not Bombs (LIFNB) needs your help to prevent that from happening! 

Many people may know that LIFNB shares free groceries and other necessities every Tuesday at 6:30pm. What people may not realize is that our Huntington Food Share is only a mile away from a tent city that is home to over a hundred Central American and Mexican men with access to no other form of shelter.

The Huntington Station Tent City is home to many who would otherwise freeze to death on the street. The Township of Huntington is made up of 200,000+ people and has no shelter system. In addition, besides LIFNB and our friends at St. Hugh’s Project Hope, there are no real services that offer free groceries, clothing, etc.

For years the Huntington Station Tent City has provided enough shelter to prevent a large number of people from freezing to death. There are nearly 30 encampments sitting on 27 acres of land, entrenched between openings in the woods. Even though the media has been saying there are only a dozen or so men who stay there, the truth is the real number is over a hundred. The tent city is also sophisticated with half a dozen latrines, some of which include showers. Someone has even dug a pump well to bring in fresh water.

While the encampments vary in size, they share numerous characteristics. Most include massive tarps 30-40 feet long. There are mattresses that line the floors and walls for insulation, and there are dozens of sheets and winter wear. People have pictures of their families and icons of Christ for worship. It is a home for the unwanted and unseen and while it’s the manifestation of poverty it’s also the embodiment of a community that wants to survive, a community that doesn’t want to freeze to death!

Without a doubt, the tent city provides much more shelter than just sleeping on the street. And so that’s one of the saddest parts of the actions of the Township of Huntington, the Suffolk County Police Department, the Starlight Building Corporation and the Family Service League. On the morning of Monday, January 11th, these entities collaborated in the extremely violent destruction of the shelters in the tent city. I say extremely violent because of the wanton devastation that was done to these men. Their homes were destroyed, tents and mattresses (used for insulation) were cut apart, materials for cooking like stoves were smashed, clothing was thrown about and ripped apart, containers of food were smashed up and personal belongings like family photos were destroyed or lost. The homes of over a hundred people were destroyed and no alternative was provided. Instead of an insulated shelter the men now have to suffer sleeping on the cold street, facing an even greater threat of hypothermia.

On Wednesday, another LIFNB volunteer and I visited the now destroyed tent city and found many who were trying to salvage their belongings; some were even trying to rebuild. Personally, the vindictive destruction and the hatred behind it was one of the most despicable things I’ve ever seen. The residents of the Huntington Tent City have lost everything and they need our help.

Like I said before, many of these men are trying to rebuild and pick up the pieces. Unless we demand that the town leaves these men be (men who aren’t bothering anyone) they’ll be destined to endure the same violence again.

LIFNB is not asking, we’re demanding that this does not happen again and we need your help. We’re asking that you demand the Town of Huntington and the Suffolk Police to postpone any further eviction plans until an adequate 24-7, year round, shelter system is created within the town. Trying to survive is not a crime! And the wanton racist violence that’s been done to these people is not acceptable and cannot continue.

How you can help: at the moment we are currently trying to collect winter jackets, winterized sleeping bags, hats, blankets, gloves, socks, new underwear, cooking wares (camping stoves, pans, etc.), hygienic wares (tooth brushes, toothpaste, soaps, etc.), canned goods, peanut butter, tarps, waterproofing materials, etc. We encourage everyone to collect these items and either drop them off at any one of our food share locations or at our drop box in Urban Coffee (101 Broadway
Greenlawn, NY 11740), or to call our hotline 631.223.4370 to schedule a home pick up at your convenience.

Raise your voice, stand in solidarity!

For more information, visit the Long Island FNB website:  http://www.lifnb.com