CITY PLANS TO TURN FORMER SHELTER BUILDING INTO VETERANS’ HOUSING

shelter

A city agency is planning to turn a building on West 95th street into permanent affordable housing for veterans. The Human Resources Administration plans to place about 135 veterans in the building at 330 West 95th street.

Community Board 7 will hold a meeting about the housing at 8 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 17) at the PS 75 auditorium at 735 West End Avenue.

That building was part of the Freedom House homeless shelter until last year, when the city shrunk that shelter in half, moving homeless people out of 330 West 95th, while keeping 316 West 95th as a homeless shelter. There are still 57 tenants living in single-room occupancy apartments (small units with a shared bathroom) and they will be allowed to stay. About 40 veterans are expected to start moving in in the next few days, with another 95 expected to show up early next year.

Social service agencies Harlem United and Bailey House will help provide services for the veterans. Neighborhood in the Nineties, the community activist group that opposed the shelter, released some details they learned from discussions with  elected officials. Neighborhood in the Nineties recently lost a court appeal after the group had attempted to stop the shelter by arguing that the neighborhood had already accepted its “fair share” of homeless shelter residents.

“The proposed veteran population will range in age from 40 to 70 years of age.  Many will have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and what is termed “low mental health issues.” Ms. Rosenthal was told that the population comprises a group “that does not need on-site case management,” and will “have access to mental health services” from the providers in other neighborhoods.”

The Human Resources Association confirmed that about 75% of the residents will be over 40 years old. There will be 24-hour security at the building.

Nonetheless, Neighborhood in the Nineties raised concerns.

“The shelter rooms are being transformed instantly into permanent housing. It is not clear what, if any, capital improvements are being made, and what size the units will be. It is feared that mixing the populations could force out longtime SRO residents, a historical pattern often ignored by the City.”

Council member Helen Rosenthal sent a statement:

“With the right tools in place, permanent affordable housing with supportive services is critical to helping people stay out of shelters. I’ve met with the service providers who will work with the residents, Bailey House and Harlem United, and I’m confident that they have the experience and capacity to serve our veterans well. I appreciate that the building is being used for permanent affordable housing, not as a shelter, so the residents can become part of our community on the Upper West Side.”

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 42 comments | permalink
    1. Finnegan says:

      This is great news, our veterans deserve this!

    2. Paul RL says:

      Their status as Veterans notwithstanding, this area is already far too saturated with homeless shelters and supportive housing. Our quality of life is in decline; it seems there are people with behavioral issues and aggressive panhandlers on almost every block. Yet the City keeps piling it on, ignoring the concerns of our residents. What was the point of our community fighting so hard to reduce the population of Freedom House, only to have it replaced by yet another shelter? Our neighborhood does more than any other to help those in need, but enough is enough.

      • Finnegan says:

        With all due respect PaulRL it seems as if your response is somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction (not that I blame you given the history of the neighborhood).

        This is not a shelter, this is permanent, affordable housing for Vets.

        This will be a place where veterans can call a home, they will pay rent, and frankly they deserve it more than you do, they served to protect our freedom and to turn them away or protest against this would be shameful.

        • Paul RL says:

          Sorry, Finnigan, they can call it what they want, but if it looks like a shelter and is run like a shelter, then it’s a shelter. I was at the meeting last night, and to most people there, there doesn’t seem to be any difference. The crowd last night was quite vocal against it, not because the residents will be Veterans, but because the city has managed to ram yet another transient population rammed down our community’s throat without any discussion or engagement until it was already in process. Gale Brewer and Helen Rosenthal droned on about how the agencies will be “accountable” for how the shelter will be run but it was just another pile of BS. Bottom line – the abuse of the west 90s continues.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            i got a different summary of the meeting from one of my neighbors who was there. He said that people at the meeting mostly wanted to see the vets there but were concerned about process and the condition of the building.

            • Paul RL says:

              Bruce, your neighbor is wrong. The brave Vets were lauded and thanked for their service even by the most vocal critics of this project, and we are all happy that something is being done for them. But the majority of the attendees spoke against shoehorning another transient population of 137 men, some with problematic issues, into the West 90s, which is already oversaturated with facilities like this. Especially frustrating was the way in which it was done – with no community involvement, no transparency, and certainly no trust that our agencies will even be able to service the Veterans (and therefore our community) in the way that everyone deserves.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              ah ha — “thank you for your service but you’re transients and some of you have ‘problematic issues'”, go live somewhere else.”

              nice. very very nice.

              it says above that this is permanent housing for the vets. what makes it a “transient” population? you mean they are poor, don’t you?

          • Paul RL says:

            Oh, Bruce, really? When you start learning how to have a decent dialog without putting your own words in others’ mouths in order to suit your own accusations, then we can continue. Until then, I take back my invite to share a turkey club and coleslaw with you at City Diner.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              sorry, Paul, you might feel guilty about it, but that was exactly your point. “thank you for your service. now move on.”

              sure, you’ve got a bunch of excuses. “we’re already over-saturated.” and blah blah blah. but the bottom line is that you speak out every chance you get against services and housing for poor and working people.

              i remember your vocal support for the disgusting removal of the seniors from the Williams, making it into yet another luxury condo. you even urged people to call elected officials to support the developer and the Salvation Army.

              and your little campaign to end rent stabilization completely.

              i’m quite sure that your objection here is not “process.” you don’t want to be living a few blocks away from these “transient” vets.

              and that is sad. but not surprising.

            • Paul RL says:

              Finnegan, please read my comments more carefully. I did not – nor would I ever – compare our Veterans to “low life scum.” My opinion is that we simply have too many shelters in the neighborhood. Am I not allowed to say that without being painted an anti-Veteran? For what it’s worth I would gladly trade out the violent drug addicts that inhabit some of our other shelters and fill them all with Veterans. I know that won’t get Bruce off my back but that’s okay. I kinda miss him.

    3. Bill says:

      So how much is the city paying for this dump? Continued sweet deal for the landlord, masked by payments to “supportive services providers” who pay the landlord.

      • Karen says:

        Definitely important questions. The history of these transactions does not suggest this is philanthropy.

    4. Fred says:

      I’m glad Helen Rosenthal is so delighted about housing homeless vets on 95th Street.

      I can’t help but wonder how many homeless shelters and SROs are located on the street she lives on.

    5. Bruce Bernstein says:

      this is an excellent solution. i am only sorry that I won’t be able to go to the hearing tonight on W. 95th and testify in favor. We need permanent affordable housing for low income people. the fact that these are veterans makes it even better, but in general affordable housing and supportive housing is good for the city.

      those of us who live on the block and the blocks surrounding the project should do things to welcome the project to the neighborhood.

      • Fred says:

        There is already plenty of “affordable housing” in NYC.

        Have you ever heard of The Bronx or Queens?

        Unfortunately, it’s lefties like you who feel people are entitled to live in areas they can’t afford.

        • Mark says:

          This was an affordable area up until a few years ago when landlords decided it was time to start over charging people and calling it “market rent”. Why do you people have something against helping other people? Not only was this neighborhood always affordable/middle class but it was known for helping those down and out and being a progressive area. Why move here, challenge the ideals of the neighborhood, and insist only rich people with no interest in anyone but their own lives can live here? Welcome to the Upper West Side, you can take a seat now.

          • Fred says:

            There is no such thing as “over charging” rent.

            Landlords can only charge what tenants are willing to pay – not a penny more.

            If you’re a landlord and you have ten people willing to pay $4,000/month for a studio you accept the highest bid. You don’t offer to rent your property for a lower price just to be a nice person. This is not rational.

            As far as the UWS once being “progressive” keep in mind that it was a crime ridden and grimy hell hole back in those days.

        • Finnegan says:

          Fred I totally agree with you with regards to the lefty comment. Pushing political agendas aside for a moment, I think providing our veterans with a little assistance is the least we can do for their service.

    6. pjrod says:

      Just because they Veterans doesn’t mean they are not crazy and/or dangerous!

      • Finnegan says:

        So we are OK with our young men and fighting the wars which both sides of the aisle commission… But upon coming home we don’t welcome them back to live in our communities. That’s good stuff PJ, we need more people like you in this world. Jackass.

    7. Danny Ingellis says:

      As a veteran myself it is nice to see veterans taken care of with affordable housing. I am sure they and the community will both benefit from this transition from a shelter. Thanks to all who support this very important and needed accommodation to our well deserving veterans.

    8. Thomas Newton says:

      I am always angered by the vile comments some self-absorbed jerks make about veterans. As a Vietnam vet who his lived in the Upper West Side for many years, taught in the South Bronx and now works to help the homeless get into decent housing, all I can say is you should be ashamed of yourselves. It’s your type of selfishness that has led to a Trump and other neo-Nazi stupidity.

    9. Tom says:

      Does anyone see the irony in placing “affordable” housing in one of the most “unaffordable” neighborhoods in the city as it relates to daily living? Food, clothing, services, etc.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        i thought the problem, at least according to the critics, is that we have TOO MUCH affordable housing in the neighborhood, in terms of supportive housing. now you’re saying it’s not fair to the residents of the affordable housing to put it there, because they won’t be able to afford high end food and fancy boutiques?

        there are plenty of thrift stores in the neighborhood for clothing. and there are supermarkets where you can get food, the food is priced somewhat higher than in Queens but not really that different.

        believe it or not, half or more of the people in the neighborhood are still working class and middle class people. sure, there are some yuppie types that can’t stand it and want to get rid of us. but we’ll be here for a while.

        I hope to welcome the Vets to the neighborhood!!

      • Sean says:

        This isn’t Kansas Toto.

    10. NativeNYer says:

      This is wonderful. I would welcome a home for the veterans in my neighborhood.

    11. Enrico says:

      There are a surprising number of ‘shelter’ and ‘shelter-like’ buildings in the mid 90s and west end. The area has now, in the past few years, become noticeably more unsavory. Yesterday, a local I’ve recognized, was smoking pot outside of one of these buildings, urinating between cars. It’s adversely affected the quality of life in the area.

      That being said, I would be honored to have formerly homeless vets nearby and am all for this. But, it’s clear that this area is a dumping ground for these sorts of things.

    12. Bruce Bernstein says:

      I’m all for working with the city to make sure this is a facility that is up to code and offers the services these vets need. There are plenty of vehicles for doing this, including both the offices of Borough President Brewer and Councilperson Rosenthal.

      but the argument that “the city can’t possibly service these vets in the right way, therefore we can’t have the program on W. 95th” is a transparent attempt to stop this affordable housing project.

      • anon says:

        you generally seem to be in favor of anything that involves an unnecessarily high amount of money being spent – so long as it is not your money. lol.

        • Government financed projects do cost more. Its easy to criticize without knowing all the facts.

          Not all projects can sustain themselves financially. The city needs to find ways to lower costs where they can. We need more transparency and cost breakdowns to determine wasted resources and corruption. Publicly funded projects should have detailed pro formas. Elected officials asking for raises should submit timesheets. Private industry spends a lot of money finding ways to maximize profit. Maybe the city should do the same.

    13. pmw says:

      Its kind of fascinating how liberal anti war anti military UWS liberals are now claiming to be pro vet. Arent you the types who want ROTC banned in city high schools and want military recruiters kept out? And now you love vets? Really? Whens the next anti military protest?