City Will Move Homeless Out of UWS Hotel After Community Push-Back

After public outbursts and long battles from residents, the Mayor de Blasio administration has decided to move hundreds of homeless out of an Upper West Side hotel where they were placed during the early summer.

What We Know:

  • The West Side Community Organization began a Facebook group called “Upper West Siders for Safer Streets,” which led to the representation of Upper West Side residents.
  • The Organization stated that homeless New Yorkers would be moved from the Lucerne Hotel, located at West 79th Street close to Amsterdam Avenue, where the group had been staying.
  • The estimated 300 homeless men are expected to be moved first out on September 20 due to residents stating they defecate themselves, are aggressive, and lessen the quality of life in a high-end neighborhood.
  • The city first moved a large group of New York’s homeless off the streets and out of over-populated shelters, and instead placed them in commercial hotels because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Department of Social Services corroborated this on Tuesday.
  • Officials stated that New Yorkers experiencing homelessness would be removed from the Manhattan hotel and a Queens hotel, and they will not return to congregate shelters. They have also insisted that the plan to have the homeless in hotels was just temporary.
  • Officials of the Department of Social Services have stated that they have begun to move these individuals from several commercial hotel locations to other non-congregate shelter locations, where they may continue to implement social distancing and provide isolation.
  • Although some Upper West Siders expressed safety concerns and quality of life issues in their neighborhoods, other residents disagreed, asking for compassion for the city’s homeless, who would not be safe in large shelters where there is a higher risk of being exposed to coronavirus.
  • Helen Rosenthal, City Councilwoman, labeled the announcement by the city sad. She stated there were a few objections in recent weeks, and presumes such policy was changed due to legal threats.
  • DHS states it has placements within the family shelter system, but the Legal Aid Society mentions that moving people from hotels to family shelters will still be troublesome.

Under current state regulations, single adults and families cannot be accommodated in the same facilities, indicating that families will have to be moved to accommodate the people moving out of the hotels.