NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A homeless woman in Hell’s Kitchen is back to her hoarding ways even after the NYPD confiscated 20 of her carts last week.
CBS2’s Ilana Gold reported Wednesday an irate Sonia Gonzalez was standing in the middle of 51st Street and 11th Avenue with her cart filled to the brim, throwing food on a sidewalk.
“I don’t need no press,” an aggressive Gonzalez told CBS2.
The city’s Peddlers Task Force showed up Wednesday morning and took away most of Gonzalez’s belongings. Last week, the city tossed the majority of her belongings in an effort to get her off the street after her hoarding took over blocks of Hell’s Kitchen.
“She, within the course of two or three days, had regained two or three carts. She’s the hardest working homeless woman in New York City,” John Everett, owner of Cyber Tire, told CBS2.
The Coalition for the Homeless said the city’s in a tough spot dealing with Gonzalez after years of repeated complaints about her.
“I think the city’s in a position where they’re needing to balance the needs of this woman against any other public safety concerns,” Giselle Routhier, the coalition’s policy director, told CBS2.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office said it has consistently tried giving Gonzalez housing options and mental health assistance since 2009, but she refuses. For now, the mayor’s office can only make sure she isn’t breaking the law, telling CBS2 Gonzalez is allowed to keep what she can carry in a single cart.
“We are consistently sending experienced outreach workers to talk to Sonia and build the trust needed to help bring her indoors to the shelter and services she deserves,” the mayor’s office said in a statement.
Gonzalez’ cans and bottles are being stored at the city Sanitation Department. The city will hold onto them and help her exchange them for cash.
The NYPD said they are going to keep checking in on Gonzalez to make sure she isn’t accumulating too many carts.