Homeless Activists Confront Mayor During His Morning Workout

PARK SLOPE – A 72-year-old woman evicted from her home in 2015 led a group of homeless New Yorkers and affordable housing advocates on Friday in confronting Mayor Bill de Blasio as he went to the Park Slope YMCA for his daily workout.

Three years ago, Nathylin Flowers Adesegun was evicted from her home of 34 years and has been homeless since. As the Mayor arrived to the gym, protestors shouted at him, demanding 30,000 units of affordable housing be created for the homeless.

A video shows Adesegun approach the Mayor inside the gym, asking him if he can look her in the eye and explain why out of 300,000 units of affordable housing, only 5% house homeless New Yorkers. The Mayor smiles initially when Adesegun approaches, but then immediately tells her, “I’m doing my workout. I can’t do this right now,” as he stands up and walks away, trailed by a security guard.

“I shook the Mayor’s hand this morning, and asked why he wouldn’t do more to help homeless New Yorkers like myself,” Adesegun said in a statement following the rally. “I am 72 years old and have been homeless for three years, but he made it clear that his morning workout was more important to him.”

“We’re not asking for much,” she continued, “commit 30,000 units out of your housing plan for homeless New Yorkers. Every time we ask him to do more for homeless New Yorkers, he changes the subject to prevention and the economy—but am I just supposed to stay homeless?”

Adesegun is a Community Leader at VOCAL-NY, an organization that works with low-income people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, drug use, and incarceration. VOCAL-NY is part of the House Our Future NY campaign calling on the Mayor to increase housing commitments for the city’s homeless from five percent to ten percent—or 30,000 out of his overall Housing New York plan to create 300,000 units of affordable housing by 2026.

According to House Our Future NY, there are nearly 62,000 people in NYC living in shelters, including more than 22,000 children. Members say when they ask the Mayor to commit more affordable units to the homeless, he refuses, claiming “preventative efforts” such as creating jobs and higher wages are the solution, according to City Limits.

The activists waited for de Blasio to complete his workout and continued to demand answers from the Mayor as he silently got into his SUV and was chauffeured away.

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Pamela Wong

Pam was a staff reporter at Bklyner, covering North-Western parts of Brooklyn between 2016 and 2019. She also writes about art at arthag.typepad.com.


  1. It’s the same out here on the coast of California. Land and housing have become super expensive, leaving affordable housing in the dark. People here are more concerned with wine production than housing those in need. The weather is great, who needs a roof, right? The politicians have let them down, and the subject always falls through the cracks. There are people living in creeks beds and under bridges, the forgotten Americans.

  2. On one hand, there’s de Blasio; on the other, a woman who believes that de Blasio cares about homelessness.

    I’m not sure which of them is more delusional.

  3. How do you serve as Mayor and not talk to constituents? I understand he is doing a workout but he seems to not like to answer questions by people who are in any way critical of him. He wants to run for President? Give me a break.

  4. …create more jobs? Reality check… there are many CITY employees and employees of private companies living in homeless shelters. There are even more people living in overcrowded roommate situations, thus taking away housing stock from families with children that are often crammed into studios and 1 bedrooms since the 2 br/3br/4brs are occupied by singletons who can’t afford their own apartments.

    maybe let’s find a way to make middle-income and low income developments profitable for developers instead of encouraging the development of luxury super slenders for the wealthy.

    Tutor City was one of the first successful housing projects for middle income New Yorkers. What happened that people now only build apartments with marble bathrooms and Bosch dishwashers?

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