Reporter David Brand’s story on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on homeless New Yorkers with health needs earned the Merit Award for Feature News Reporting from the Silurian Press Club, part of the storied organization’s annual Excellence in Journalism Awards.

Adi Talwar

Darren Whitney, who was staying at the Clarke Thomas Men’s Shelter on Wards Island while awaiting a hip transplant last year.

One man staying at the men’s homeless shelter on Wards Island was awaiting a hip transplant, but his doctor wouldn’t approve the surgery until he’d lined up a permanent place to stay, citing the risk of infection posed by living in the barracks-style shelter facility, which didn’t allow for home health aides to visit. Another man staying in a hotel, rented by the city as a temporary shelter space, returned one day to find the staff there had mistakenly thrown away his belongings—including his diabetes medications and blood thinners.

These are just a few of the anecdotes detailed in a City Limits’ article last summer, by reporter David Brand, on how homelessness and housing insecurity impacts New Yorkers’ health, longtime challenges further exposed and exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That reporting was honored this week by Silurian Press Club’s 77th annual Excellence in Journalism Awards, where it earned the Merit Prize for feature reporting. Photographer Adi Talwar contributed images to the winning entry.

READ THE AWARD-WINNING STORY: Pandemic Worsens Hard Road to Housing for Homeless New Yorkers with Health Needs 

City Limits’ staffer Liz Donovan was also honored for her story, published by the New York Times in partnership with Type Investigations and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, which chronicled labor struggles and low wages in the booming home health industry, a field dominated by immigrant workers and women of color. That piece won the Silurian’s Medallion Award for Science & Health Reporting.

The Silurians were founded in 1924 as a membership organization for veteran journalists. Members have included Charles Edward Russell, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and co-founder of the NAACP, Herbert Bayard Swope, Arthur Brisbane, William Randolph Hearst, Lincoln Steffens and John Steinbeck.

This is the fourth time City Limits has been recognized by the Silurians, having received awards previously for our reporting on disparate death rates across New York City neighborhoods, our investigation into the state’s Green Jobs program and the payday loans industry.

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