Nonprofit group Neighborhood in the Nineties said in a state court filing this week that the city is breaking its charter and blighting the neighborhood by putting in a 400-bed homeless shelter on West 95th street against the community’s wishes. The shelter, known as “Freedom House,” has now been around for about a year, and has now sparked two lawsuits — this one and a separate suit between the mayor and Comptroller John Liu, who rejected a contract between the city and the shelter operator, Aguila Inc.
Neighborhood in the Nineties, which started the litigation last month says that under the city charter shelters aren’t supposed to have more than 200 residents, and that they shouldn’t be placed in areas that are already full of social service agencies — the so-called “fair-share” doctrine. The suit also notes that the city is spending an exorbitant amount — about $3,700 for each small room. It adds that homeless residents who miss curfew have been “sleeping in the elementary school playground, Joan of Arc Island and in Riverside Park,” and that crime in the area has risen, among other problems.
A spokesperson for the city’s law department told us: “Freedom House provides social services, housing assistance, security, and a clean, safe place for men and women in need to get back on their feet. We are confident that it meets all applicable laws, and we will evaluate the claims and respond to them at the appropriate time.”
Read the full complaint below: