NYC residents outraged over De Blasio’s choice of location for homeless shelter (photos)

BY KAT SHEPHERD / JANUARY 18, 2018 /

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New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio has “blindsided Manhattan’s ‘Billionaires’ Row'” as he has quietly made plans to open a men’s homeless shelter in the former Park Savoy Hotel with little publicity.

The proposed homeless shelter would provide housing to 150 resident, after the city converts the former Park Savoy Hotel into a shelter for homeless men.

The New York Post reports: The building at 158 W. 58th St. is scheduled to open in March, the city’s Department of Homeless Services said Wednesday. Hizzoner’s plan — part of a program to create 90 new shelters across all five boroughs — was revealed last week in letters to local elected officials.

“Are you kidding me?” said a resident of the landmark JW Marriott Essex House hotel and condo building on Park South. “I am in shock. You just shocked the s–t out of me.”

Victoria Bader, a dancer who’s been living on West 58th Street for the past two years, said, “How does this happen? We had no warning.”

Patricia Jenkins, who works in marketing and lives nearby, expressed frustration that “the city has a homeless epidemic and there seems to be no solution. I don’t have an answer, but I know I do not want a homeless shelter in my neighborhood.” 

Rich Montilla, director of security for One57 and the adjacent Park Hyatt hotel, said he was “concerned for our guests going out in that area — we have an exit and entrance there for guests and condo owners.” [He continued], “I don’t know if these gentlemen are violent, I don’t know what to expect.”
 
When de Blasio announced his Turning the Tide on Homelessness program last year, he said that neighbors would get at least 30 days’ notice before a shelter opened, and pledged that officials would “take into account reasonable community concerns and input.” During a Tuesday news conference, de Blasio noted: “I told you well before the elections there would be 90 new shelters, they’ll be in every kind of neighborhood.”

DHS said the Park Savoy housing will be run by Westhab, which manages shelters and affordable housing in Westchester and the Bronx. Security measures will include at least two guards at the entrance and 56 surveillance cameras in and around the building.

The property is owned by New Hampton LLC, which bought it for $3.875 million in 2004, according to city records. John Pappas, who’s listed in state records as the company’s official contact, declined to comment.

Councilman Keith Powers said he learned of the shelter from constituents, and didn’t hear anything from the Department of Homeless Services until he called them.

“We want to be able to share as much information with our community and our constituents about any project happening,” Powers said. “We don’t want to find out from them and then be chasing the details of the problem afterwards.”

De Blasio defended his actions, saying: “The notification process that we laid out about a year ago is what we’re following now.”  He said radio station 1010 WINS first reported about the shelter and “scooped his notification process,” according to the New York Daily News. “If an enterprising radio station figured it out ahead of the normal notification process, kudos. But the notification process was going to begin on the timeline that we announced previously,” he said.

 

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