You’re likely receiving many asks for donations these days and I hate to add to the long list. Please bear with me. This is a modest plea; the smallest amount will help.
Here is the cause: I’m trying to raise money for a few weeks of hotel accommodation for Dumar Scott, a homeless man with a severe disability.
I met Mr. Scott 2 weeks ago near my office building in Brooklyn where he had fallen out of his damaged wheelchair. I was shocked to learn that Mr. Scott is living on the street with such a crippling condition as cerebral palsy. He cannot walk at all and the most basic daily acts, such as feeding himself, keeping personal hygiene, and getting from A to B are tremendous physical challenges. Moreover, he has to charge his electric wheelchair every few hours, or he gets stuck with an empty battery in the middle of traffic. I never thought about this before but I now know that electric outlets in public spaces are as hard to come by as public bathrooms are in this city.
Mr. Scott is very intelligent, resourceful, resilient, and hopeful. I’m humbled and awed by his positive attitude, survivor skills, and faith. But his health is declining and he has many injuries from being hit by cars. Also, his mobility impairments make him vulnerable to abuse. Shelters are not an option for wheelchair-bound people for obvious reasons. Mr. Scott urgently needs permanent housing (he lost his apartment after he lost his mother). He also needs physical therapy, a new wheelchair, and most of all safety.
Since we met, I’ve made countless calls on Mr. Scott’s behalf—to city agencies, disability offices, and housing management companies. So far I’ve learned that there are resources and good will but also lots of bureaucracy and discrimination. And of course, there’s COVID and rising poverty and homelessness complicating everything.
Today brought some hope when, in response to my recent letter to the NYC Mayor, I received a call back from City Hall. The kindly Mr. Malave from the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities promised to help Mr. Scott with expedited housing.
In the meantime, I just couldn’t bear the thought of Mr. Scott being out in freezing temperatures in his broken wheelchair. He also has sickle cell trait and tends to get extremely cold.
So, 3 days ago, I checked him into a hotel room at the Downtown Brooklyn Holiday Inn on 300 Schermerhorn Street. We hired an attendant who cleaned Mr. Scott up and he is now enjoying a comfortable bed in a warm room where he can finally get some rest. He told me he hasn’t slept in a proper bed in over a year. (In his wheelchair, always sitting up, he can only nap and occasionally he gets to rest on an ER gurney).
Unfortunately, while I’m happy to feed him for the time being, I can’t afford the hotel bill for much longer. But it breaks my heart to send Mr. Scott back out into the cold. That’s why I’m reaching out to you. If everyone contributes a little, Mr. Scott could stay in his current wheelchair-accessible hotel room (room 1210) perhaps for a couple weeks longer—until the city takes over and puts him up. I’m also raising money to pay a disability attendant every few days for his personal hygiene while he’s in the Holiday Inn.
Please be assured that Mr. Scott is extremely grateful for any support he receives. He’s gone through a lot. If you’re unable to help at this time, we totally understand. Please send good vibes instead! If you can pass on the link to others, great.
I’ll post an update on the situation and the progress we make with the Mayor’s Office. In the meantime thank you so much for your consideration.
With warmest wishes for the new year,