Councilwoman Gale Brewer will hold a town hall meeting on Tuesday night at 6 at John Jay College, bringing along politicians and city officials from throughout the neighborhood. But the one agency that Upper West Siders have been clamoring to hear from for the past four months apparently won’t be there.

The Department of Homeless Services, whose decision to open a homeless mega-shelter on 95th Street for 400 adults this summer without community review angered residents, is not on the list of agencies scheduled to attend. In fact, the DHS hasn’t been to the neighborhood since the shelter opened, and residents have had virtually no information about the shelter, including its safety or screening procedures and how long it will be there. Shelter residents have complained about drug dealing in the building, and the lack of affordable food nearby. There’s a school playground across the street, and parents have been wary to let their children walk to Riverside Park on the block. Local officials have said they oppose the shelter, but there’s been no apparent action to force the city to explain itself or change its policy.

This is an issue that is likely to get more pressing: We have heard from multiple Upper West Siders that other landlords in the neighborhood are preparing their buildings to hold shelters or other supportive housing, which can bring in high rents from the city. The shelter on 95th charges the city about $3,300 per unit per month for rooms without kitchens and bathrooms.

The proliferation of shelters is giving many Upper West Siders we’ve talked to bad memories. In the 1990’s, the West 90’s and 100’s filled up with shelters, prompting New York Magazine to write a cover story called “Who is Killing the Upper West Side?”

Aaron Biller, who runs the group Neighborhood in the Nineties, is frustrated by the lack of action and thinks Brewer (right) has been complicit.

“The Community Board and Councilwoman have been uniquely ineffective — Carroll Gardens [a Brooklyn neighborhood that also had an emergency shelter installed] had their hearing within a week or two of opening,” Biller told us. “Tomorrow night may be a forum to embellish Gale’s credentials to run for Borough President. Holding out on this community in an inconvenient spot will score no points in the West 90s, and other UWS locales either.”

“At some point the pols will have a learning moment–the UWS is the equivalent of a swing state for anyone seeking borough or city-wide office.  They won’t get there working around us, or showing momentary interest in between their indifference or outright harmful actions.”

Brewer’s staff and the DHS did not respond to our requests for comment.

Here are the details on the meeting:


Hosted by Council Member Gale A. Brewer, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Congressman Charles B. Rangel, State Senator Tom Duane, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Community Boards 4, 5, and 7, and Representatives of Various City Agencies

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 from 6:00PM – 8:00PM

Gerald W. Lynch Theater John Jay College of Criminal Justice: 524 West 59th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues) New York, NY 10019

Opening performance by LaGuardia High School string quartet. Reception to Follow. RSVP not required. All are invited. Assistive listening devices and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) live captioning will be provided. Please contact the District Office of Council Member Brewer, 563 Columbus Avenue (at West 87 Street) NY, NY 10024, with any questions at (212) 873-0282 and

NEWS | 6 comments | permalink
    1. Drew says:

      This CANNOT happen!! They can’t poasibly bring yet ANOTHER or MULTIPLE new shelters to 90s. This is unreal! We should all stop paying our city taxes.

      WTF is going on here???!!!

      This must not be allowed to stand. How is this legal? We are not a dumping ground!

    2. Drew says:

      Just to clarify I pay may taxes. Don’t want to go to jail 🙂

      Seriously though. This can’t happen.

      Where have people in the hood heard landlords are readying their buildings?

      You guys out there?

      • West Sider says:

        One on 94th and and one in the 70’s, but we haven’t confirmed the tips. DHS told UWS politicians a few months ago that they didn’t have plans to open more shelters.

    3. Dante says:

      nothing wrong with more shelters in the w 90’s,in fact the 2 catholic schools that are slated to be closed on w 90 & 97 st would make fine additions.

    4. Drew says:

      Hard a hard time seeing that flying in the 70s.

      Any idea on what area in the 90s rumor wise? Near the others/West End or more forwards Columbus?

    5. M. Foster says:

      Thank you for pointing out the fallacy of the ‘affordable housing’ claim that these shelters, DHS, and the landlords who profit handsomely from them, make about these shelters. Even on the UWS, $3,300 for a one bedroom is high, let alone for an SRO.
      Councilwoman Brewer has been ineffective, complicit and cynical in her approach to this issue. If these shelters moved 15 blocks further South to her neighborhood, I wonder if she’d do more.