Locals have listed numerous reasons why they don’t like a new homeless shelter that was installed in two buildings on West 95th Street last month. But some of the shelter residents are peeved too — in part because they can’t afford the food in the nearby stores.

Casey Tolan, a reporter for the Columbia Spectator, talked to some residents, including Julian and Reyes Thrasher:

The spartan rooms at the Thrashers’ shelter have uncomfortable bunk beds, small refrigerators, shared bathrooms and kitchens, and not much else. Julian, who is 58, has broken his back in three places, “so I can’t be going up and down bunk beds,” he said.

The hardest thing for the Thrashers is that they don’t have enough money for food. With $39 per month in food stamps, Upper West Side food prices are out of their budget, and they aren’t allowed to cook or even have a microwave in their room.

“I’ve got to go back to the neighborhood [the Bronx] to shop for food,” Reyes said, adding that she goes to her mother’s home in the Bronx when she needs to cook something. Julian said that he doesn’t have any family left.

Another resident also noted that the city could be using the $3,300 it spends on each shelter unit every month for better accommodations.

With the amount of money the city is paying for the rooms, Carson added, “you could find some good apartments in Brooklyn somewhere.”

FOOD, NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 25 comments | permalink
    1. Kate says:

      At $3,300 a month, you could get a very nice 2 bedroom in the neighborhood. For those tiny rooms with shared bathroom and kitchen, food should be included at that rate!! It is OUTRAGEOUS that the city spends that much to put people in such tiny, ill-equipped apartments, not to mention the fact that concentrating poverty has always resulted in bigger problems. The city should hire their own full-time brokers to seek out normal apartments for these tenants; I’m sure they’d save a ton of money and get the tenants far superior housing.

    2. Crawford says:

      I thought West Siders wanted the shelters. They voted for Rosenthal, who sponsored the legislation. This is SRO housing. The only legal options are tourists and homeless, pretty much. You need someone to pay the mortgage.

      If they don’t like the shelters, tell Rosenthal to revoke her law. She’s totally responsible.

    3. Crawford says:

      Kate, you can’t get a “very nice” 2 bedroom on the UWD for $3,300. You can get a nice one bedroom, or a bare-bones 2 bedroom. Then there’s the brokers fee, references and income requirements.

      But your larger point is correct. That’s way too much money for shelter housing.

      • Ellen says:

        Who said they need to,live on the ups they would be happy in the Bronx near their family. You can get a decent place to,live and food there for the same money. this isn’t about helping people it’s about putting money in the pockets of the people who OWN the shelters and their friends the politicians…all crooked.

      • Amy says:

        Okay…you can get a very “decent” two-bedroom on the UWS for (less than) that money. I did.

        If they are paying that much for crappy rooms with shared kitchens and bathrooms, surely they could be placing people in real apartments? Are there any real services associated with these SRO placements? (Serious question, I’m not a native New Yorker, so this whole thing is kind of new to me.)

    4. westSider says:

      100% agree with Crawford.

      But I am sure the bleeding hearts will demand additional food stamps for the “clients” of the Department of Homeless “Services” because of course they are entitled to everything.

      who cares if others have to pay and we have to fire teachers ,cops and close firehouses. The homeless must be “served” with an open checkbook.

    5. westsideMoms says:

      why is Ms. Reyes in the shelter as taxpayer expensive of almost $40,000 per year WHEN her mom has a home in the Bronx?

      What is there no personal accountability?
      One thing is that these new shelters have shined a bright light on the waste and corruption in the name of good that we are all paying for.

      Mayor , focus on the waste and not on big gulps.

    6. Noelle says:

      Well, when the shelter residents are complaining about the waste of taxpayer dollars, you have a real problem! Something is clearly wrong with system if hard-working taxpayers cannot afford to live in the neighborhood, because they have taken all of the available low-income housing and turned it into a homeless shelter, for people who can’t even afford food in the neighborhood. What do you think this does to the neighborhood’s restaurants and stores? Instead of 400 people spending money on groceries and meals, and with a stake in the community, you have 400 people going to the Bronx for food (don’t get me started on that one, why should someone get my tax money for shelter if they can live with their mom?) or they panhandle in front of Symphony Space, or right in the stores themselves, NICE. This situation shows total disregard for the entire community including the shelter residents. Disgusting. These properties were intended for permanent affordable housing, period, and that is what should be demanded.

    7. Scooter Stan says:

      WAIT A SECOND! HOLD ON THERE! Think “Outside The Box” and Draw Outside the Lines!

      What a great opportunity for public activism! Wouldn’t it be great if the Occupy Wall Street types got involved, demanding reasonable food prices for the 99-percent!

      Instead of O.W.S., they could call the new movement O.W.F. ….for OCCUPY WHOLE FOODS !


    8. Rosie says:

      Thank you for running this article. First of all, it puts a human face on our new neighbors. From the correspondence you have received, one would have thought that the city was proposing a shelter for axe murderers and not one for couples and families with children. Also, the article, by mentioning the gentleman with his back broken in three places, calls attention to the fact that a fair portion of the city’s homeless population suffer from various ailments and are unable to work. Or, their family includes a child or an adult with disabilities. A single parent with a chronically ill child is rarely able to find and hold down a job. Finally, the article points out the folly of the city’s homeless policies which do not currently have a program that will pay a family’s full rent, even if it is reasonable. The unpleasant (but expensive) conditions described in the article are no doubt part of the city’s failed policy of “disincentivizing” homelessness, as if people declare themselves to be homeless just to take advantage of what the city has to offer.

      • mike212 UWS says:

        very simple .. let them move out of New York City.

        there are no walls or gates at the city line.

        Houses cost $15,000 in Buffalo – no joke.

        you like it sunny? rent a 2 bedroom, 2 bath + pool, washer, dryer for $900 per month in Broward County, Florida.

        It would be cheaper for NYC taxpayer to pay for them to move. BUT, I do not think it our responsbility to pay for everyone. Personal responsibiity – with a limited safety net – is just. If they can’t afford it to live here, they should move. period. Sounds harsh? plenty of middle and working families make that decision daily and do what is best for them.

        • Amy says:

          That’s a valid point. For what they are spending to put people in shelters here, they could pay for a decent house (or nice apartment) AND groceries upstate.

          This whole thing is a terrible use of resources.

    9. UWS Person says:

      This article is disturbing. $3,300 a month per room with shared bathrooms? I lived in The Lyric for two years with rent less then that. Are you kidding? Add to it the way this whole situation happened, no open hearings, etc. The landlords and NYC employees who made this deal should be investigated to see if there are any ties between the two. Yes there are homeless people that need help but there should be an equitable distribution of housing throughout the City. The concentration of the housing on the UWS, especially in the 90’s is out of balance.

    10. jamal P. says:

      from Noele: These properties were intended for permanent affordable housing, period, and that is what should be demanded.”

      Ummm, No… who actually said what the intent is for private property? some politicians thinking they are doing good? This is still the United States and their is a constitution that protects private people and their private property. When the City was in decline , there was a market for small single room apartments, the buildings were built for other uses – class A apt, transient hotels, etc – When things improved, many were converted back to other uses – and so that actually is a good thing – despite what the far left wing says. that means renters , buyers , landlords where investing in the community and want things to improve. Somewhere the politicians hijacked this evolution and said that SROs are the final step before homelessness. That was never proven but even so, it is not the Government’s role to tell owners what they can and cannot do with their own private property – think of the ramifications of that (think about your home or property). So they made laws that you need a Certificate of NonHarrassment to convert the properties. – hard to get in the real world – think about it , tenant skips out or just wants to bust chops, these are not most stable population. HPD of course said you have to renew it every year (law doesnt say that) ..all these things make it more and more EXPENSIVE to run the building and the costs have to be paid for. Some landlords saw the need for affordable hotel rooms for budget travelers to our city – so while the kept the many SRO tenants in place, the empty units became nice affordable hotel rooms – That is the law passed by Rosenthal and Brewer that outlawed the of sro HOTELS as …..Hotels.. why? they argued it was a fire hazard (so why is it a fire hazard for a hotel guest, but not an SRO tenant? makes no sense).

      So that is where we are today . The landlords have little choice but to make these deals with other city agencies (Other ultra left wing judges ruled the City must house anyone and everyone who demands it) even though there are plenty of much more affordable housing in the rest of the country where new houses sit empty, we in the Peoples’ Republic of New York City must pay for everyones apartment. These are the facts.

    11. ricky says:

      I suggest we pass out flyers against Scott Stringer, Linda Rosenthal and/or Gale Brewer at the subway station at West 96th Street and that we demand again from them that they address this issue. The 96th St subway station is one of the highest voter turnouts in the city. These politicians need our votes, they turn out election time, but they have acted completely against the best interests of the neighborhood and they are personally responsible for the damage to our community.
      Take a look at page 42 (Appendix 4) of the attached.,. We are going back to the 70s on the UWS thanx to Gale, Scott and Linda.
      Just Friday,. a man was murdered on West 95th st Between Broadway and Amsterdam at 12:30 in the afternoon.- stabbed by one of these crazies from one of these shelters. I I also suggest that every synagogue on Manhattan’s UWS and school speak out against our local elected officials and demand protection for our neighborhood. They have completely messed us up, it was completely forseeable – I personally warned Linda about this – and now its happening.
      They have been completely incompetent in this area and have served us poorly.
      Scott actually has financial supporters for his campaign in our shuls and this will be forwarded to them.
      They promised action last year at a meeting we had, they have done nothing, and matters are worse.

    12. ricky says:

      $3,300/month x 12 = $39,600/year.

      New York City’s per capita income in 2000 was $22,402; men and women had a median income of $37,435 and $32,949 respectively. 21.2% of the population and 18.5% of families had incomes below the federal poverty line; 30.0% of this group were under the age of 18 and 17.8% were 65 and older.

    13. westsideMoms says:

      The current policitiians are doing a great job of empowering the anarchists and extremists to act out. Just read today’s NY Post on a bunch of these denizons attacking a driver at Bleeker and broadway – he had the audacity to drive an audi.


      • Cato says:

        Actually, if you really read the article — or, better still, repeat *truthfully* here what the article says — you would know that the car was trashed because the driver got into a fight with a bicyclist.

        The fact that the car was an Audi was *not* reported to be the cause of the incident.

        Besides, does it take “audacity” — your word — just to drive an Audi? It might, in some neighborhoods, but in the Greenwich Village location of the reported incident (Broadway and Bleecker) I suspect that there are more than a few other owners of the luxury-car-of-the-moment.

        Rather (and, again, you would have had to read the article you cited to know this), some members of the mob had *already* been “dancing atop other cars earlier” when the driver “nearly hit” the bicyclist.

        And the eyewitness report adds still more perspective that you’ve conveniently omitted:

        “There were maybe two main guys who were jumping on the car and started smashing the windshield,” a witness told The Post. “A lot of the people were cheering, a lot were just spectators.

        In other words, a fight between a motorist and a bicyclist led two hooligans to move from dancing on other cars to dancing on the car that almost hit the bicyclist. The spectators took the side of the bicyclist and cheered on the trashing of the offending car.

        Irresponsible and illegal, of course, and those spectators should look themselves in the mirror and be ashamed. But this isn’t yet the class warfare you’re bemoaning.

        For the moment, you’re probably still safe in your Mercedes/BMW/Audi/LandRover SUV. So please, continue driving without turn signals and while yakking on your cell phone. But maybe, at least, pay some heed to bicyclists who have the same right as you do to be in the road.

      • Upper West Side Wally says:

        “The current policitiians [sic] are doing a great job of empowering the anarchists and extremists to act out.” What are the mechanics here, Westsidemoms? How exactly does a politician empower (the word alone…) anarchists?
        “Just read today’s NY Post on a bunch of these denizons attacking a driver at Bleeker and broadway – he had the audacity to drive an audi.”
        You make it sound like the fact that the man was driving an Audi was the cause. Nothing, but absolutely nothing, in the NY Post article indicates that this was the cause. Just the facts, ma’am!

        • westsideMoms says:

          leave it to the upper west side to defend guys who jump on cars and smash windows with the driver inside – all becuase of he may or may not have driven too close to a bike.

          right or wrong on the driver, you defend the criminals.

          Once I witnessed a guy steal a wallet from a guy at 92nd and bway – the police caught him and of course the crowd told yelled at the policeman to not hurt the perpertrator. all the while not even asking the victim if he was okay….
          Is it any wonder the politicians put more shelters in our neighbhorhood?

          • Cato says:

            Hey, Mom — Go back and read the replies again. S l o w l y this time.

            Nobody’s defending the criminals. We’re simply calling you out for distorting the story, or even for downright lying about it.

            You *do* see the difference, don’t you?

          • Westside Wally says:

            No criminals were defended; inaccuracies and outright made-up assumptions about a simple newspaper article were pointed out.

            And the question remains: How exactly do politicians empower anarchists and extremists?

            • westsideMoms says:

              oh i read it over, thanks

              now please read my comment over. It is my opinion that the politicians are creating this environment. Again my opinion. Sorry it does not jive with yours. But again there is no one less open to others points of views then liberals.

              I also linked the artilcle so everyone can read for themselves about draw their own conclusions.

              But , again you are deflecting for the reality of the orignal post here, our area is being destroyed by our own tax dollars. Wait, next you will call me a racist as another deflection.

              Stay in your limo or dont walk the streets like i do everyday and see the reality of the situation

    14. jamal P. says:

      “And the question remains: How exactly do politicians empower anarchists and extremists?”

      Answer: By creating and atmosphere and culture that the rules do not apply to certain interest groups. A sense of entitlement that the government owes you and you do not have to work for it – along with a contempt for those who do strive and do not have their hand out and expect others to take care of them. By defending negative behavior and civil disobedience as free speech. That is how.