MIDTOWN MANHATTAN, NY — An appeals judge has thrown a wrench in the city’s plans to build a homeless shelter in the ritzy Billionaire’s Row section of Midtown Manhattan, according to reports.
Appellate Judge Jeffrey Oing granted a temporary injunction that will stop work to convert the Park Savoy Hotel on West 58th Street into a 150-bed shelter for men facing homelessness, the New York Post first reported. The ruling temporarily reverses a Dec. 12 ruling to deny a similar injunction in a lawsuit filed by Billionaire’s Row residents in the state Supreme Court.
Construction work will not be allowed to take place at the Park Savoy site until the full appeals panel rules on the lawsuit, which seeks to prevent the city from placing a shelter at the former Park Savoy site due to concerns of safety and harm to nearby land values, the Post reported.
The proposed shelter is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Turning the Tide” plan to tackle homelessness in New York City, city officials said. That plan calls for the creation 90 new homeless shelters in various neighborhoods around the city, even wealthy areas like “Billionaire’s Row.” By building shelters in every part of the city, people facing homelessness will not be forced to move out of their home boroughs and can be closer to their support systems or jobs while they seek permanent housing, city officials said.
Many area residents packed an auditorium in February to claim that West 58th Street is simply inappropriate to house the homeless. Several people pointed out that the area is crawling with tourists visiting Central Park, and a shelter there would present a negative image of New York City to travelers. Another resident claimed that the future residents of the shelter would be demoralized and driven to crime by the neighborhood’s $6 coffees and the expensive dresses hanging in Bergdorf Goodmans.
The shelter at the Park Savoy Hotel will be called the Park Savoy Rapid Re-Housing and Employment Center and all of its 150 residents will be either employed or “employable,” representatives from the nonprofit Westhab said. The nonprofit will provide around-the-clock security featuring guards posted at shelter entrances and 56 new security cameras in the facility.
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