The city has begun moving families into homeless shelters at 316 and 330 West 95th Street despite protests by local leaders and neighbors. The shelters, say local politicians, don’t have basic safety features like security cameras or counseling staff, and they’re costing the city an extraordinary amount of money — more than $3,300 a month per small two-person bathroom-less room. They were approved under “emergency” status, meaning they don’t have to be vetted through a public process.
We broke the story about the shelters about a week and a half ago, after which community leaders sent a letter to the Department of Homeless Services demanding it cease referring homeless families to the shelters. But the letter and a meeting with DHS last week apparently haven’t kept the city from installing the shelters.
A press release from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said that the city has already begun moving the families into the shelter. Aaron Biller, of the nonprofit group Neighborhood in the Nineties, said guards have been stationed outside the shelters today. Stringer and other leaders are holding a rally at 95th Street and West End Avenue on Tuesday at 11 a.m., “calling on the city’s Department of Homeless Services to immediately suspend all efforts to refer clients to the buildings at 316 and 330 West 95th Street in Manhattan, saying the City moved in with virtually no community consultation and no transparency.” The DHS hasn’t gotten back to us to answer questions about the shelters; the operators, Housing Solutions USA, referred questions to the DHS.
The mid-90’s already has numerous shelters and treatment facilities that serve hundreds of people, more than other parts of the city. Two recent homicides in a shelter and an SRO in the mid-90’s have also raised alarms.