From New York Daily News:
Not in Billionaire Row’s backyard.
Residents ripped a proposed $60.8 million contract to convert the former Park Savoy Hotel into a men’s homeless shelter they said was being foisted on them Thursday — saying it was too expensive, ill-suited for the neighborhood and a danger to its residents.
“This 150 unit development which will stand as one of the city’s largest and most expensive shelter projects to date has resulted from a rigged process with predetermined outcome,” a resident read from a statement submitted by the Coalition for West 58th Street’s president Suzanne Silverstein. “It has also been sprung on this community with no notice despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 2017 promise to provide 30 days’ notice or more before creating any shelter facility.”
The Department of Homeless Services argued the price of the contract included services — saying “high-quality transitional housing is far more than just a room to sleep in” — and that they’d provided the proper notice for the shelter, which would be located around the block from One57, the city’s priciest apartment building.
“Every neighborhood across New York City has a part to play in addressing this citywide challenge,” Department of Homeless Services spokesman Isaac McGinn said. “We remain committed to open, ongoing engagement with the community-and we’re confident that through collaborative support and compassion, we will make this the best experience it can be for these individuals as they get back on their feet.”
But local elected officials have said they learned of the plans from constituents last month rather than City Hall and residents griped that they’d been given conflicting information about the contract, which can only be reviewed in person.
“The community has no reason to trust you because of the way you’ve behaved,” Ken Fisher, an attorney and former councilman consulting for the coalition, testified on the contract.
He argued that while many think homeless shelters are always a NIMBY — not in my backyard — issue, communities will accept facilities with proper notice.
But others insisted there was simply no way a shelter could work in their neighborhood, a block from Central Park.
Gloria Guido said the neighborhood was a “tourist attraction” and home to Central Park, The Essex House — a hotel she noted hosts “dignitaries” and politicians — and the New York Athletic Club.
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