Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou Statement on Horrific Murders in Chinatown

Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou released the following statement in response to the news of five assaults which resulted in four deaths in Chinatown.

“I am devastated to learn this morning that last night in Chinatown, five men — all believed to be homeless — were beaten by a 24 year old man using a metal pipe. This attack resulted in four deaths and one victim was brought to the hospital in critical condition.

It cannot be overstated how shocking and horrific this incident is. We need to take time to remember and reflect on the deaths of our four community members we lost early this morning.

Violence and cruelty towards New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and abject poverty is unacceptable. Homelessness has continually grown in New York and it is clear that we lack a holistic system to address this issue. We need to build a model rooted in providing deeply affordable housing and direct prevention services to end homelessness and poverty, and in the meantime, work towards supporting our homeless population and minimize the risk of violence that they endure.

In this time of mourning —and in moving forward, our communities of Chinatown and the Lower East Side need to stand in support of our most vulnerable communities.

We will continue to work with authorities to get more information on this abhorrent act of violence and fight alongside our non-profit partners and agencies to address the gaps in our system.”

Giselle Routhier, Policy Director for Coalition for the Homeless said, "the callous attack against five homeless men last night is unfathomable in its brutality. Four men lost their lives and one is fighting to survive. It should serve as a reminder to all of us that our homeless neighbors live without the protection and privacy of a home. They are our fellow human beings and deserve the dignity and safety that a home assures. New York City and New York State must build enough deeply subsidized housing for homeless New Yorkers to match the scale of the need in order to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again."

Wayne Ho, President and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council said, "CPC extends our sympathies to the families of the individuals killed last night in Chinatown/Lower East Side. The violence has shocked many of us, and as we mourn the loss of lives, we also call on the City to work together to make sure New Yorkers living without housing or without mental health support have a place to turn. The rate at which New Yorkers experience housing insecurity is unacceptable. We hope to work with our elected officials and our partners to make sure Chinatown continues to be a place to live, work, worship, visit, and find support."

"University Settlement urges our government partners at the City, State and Federal levels, our non-profit colleagues, and our neighbors to renew and double down on our efforts to reverse the travesty of homelessness, the trajectory of extreme poverty and racism, and the tragedies of untreated mental illness and addiction. These murders were preventable. These victims were our neighbors. And all of us have a role to play --- from welcoming people, services and affordable housing into our communities, to prioritizing significant public resources for health and housing over luxury development. We grieve for the four men who died, for the fifth in critical condition, and for the sixth ‘person of interest’ who is in custody," said Melissa Aase, Executive Director, University Settlement.

“Last night, the culmination of years-long posturing and political grandstanding on homelessness resulted in a brutal attack against five homeless men sleeping on the street, four of which lost their lives. This attack was both horrific and completely preventable. Our leaders must immediately take action to equip our City with adequate deeply affordable housing and mental health and social services,” said Cea Weaver, Campaign Coordinator for Housing Justice for All.

Alan Van Capelle, President and CEO of the Educational Alliance said, “Every human being is born with dignity and deserves to be treated with dignity throughout their lifetime. Every homeless person on our streets is a reminder that our city has failed to protect the most vulnerable among us. These were our brothers. We must do better. The murder of four homeless people is a sign that we are losing our way. It’s time to find it again. May these souls find the peace they deserve.”

“This is such a tragedy and a tragedy that we can prevent by ending homelessness. Homeless individuals who have to sleep on the street are the most vulnerable in our society to this violence. It is immoral that we place individuals and families in such desperate circumstances,” said Jonathan Westin, Executive Director of New York Communities for Change.

“Homelessness itself is a trauma and the tragedy that happened is inconceivable. Right now we are in the middle of this tragedy and we are working with our partners in the city to help them in any way they ask. We are talking with all of our outreach teams, alerting our psychiatrists, and continuing to provide in-depth support to individuals living on the streets” said Tony Hannigan, CEO, Center for Urban Community Services.

Bob Humber, Vice President of the Sara Roosevelt Park Community Coalition said “The SDR park community would like to express our sadness over the loss of the men who were killed. We send our condolences to their families.”

“We are horrified by the reprehensible violence that has ended the lives of four homeless New Yorkers. People who live on the streets are members of our community who deserve the same respect and dignity as everyone else, but who have fallen prey to the devastating affordable housing crisis that plagues our city and state. We urge New York State and City to do everything in their power to ensure that all New Yorkers have a safe and affordable roof over their heads” said Javier H. Valdés, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road.