The Lucerne Hotel at 201 West 79th Street will be used to house 283 homeless people who have been staying at shelters downtown, as a way to reduce the population at those shelters so there is less of a Covid-19 risk, according to Councilmember Helen Rosenthal. The residents will be moving in on Monday, according to Rosenthal and the shelter operator, Project Renewal.
The residents are coming from two shelters in the East Village. One, the Kenton Hall Men’s Shelter, is for homeless men taking methadone, a medication meant to help people dealing with opioid abuse. The other, the Third Street Men’s Shelter, also helps residents achieve sobriety, as well as find jobs.
The city has been using hotels — which have mostly been closed or at reduced capacity during the crisis — as temporary homeless shelters for the last few months, because many city shelters are too crowded to allow people to safely socially distance. Among the local hotels that have been used as shelters are the Belnord Hotel and the Hotel Belleclaire.
Rosenthal and Project Renewal say that The Lucerne will have 50 staff members and there will be 18 security guards and two supervisors on duty at each shift, “pending final budget approval.” They plan to conduct block patrols every 30 minutes. People who don’t adhere to “Good Neighbor” rules may be transferred to other shelters. Residents will be tested for Covid before arriving, and no one who tests positive will be placed at The Lucerne, Rosenthal wrote.
The Lucerne was built in 1904. The restaurant Nice Matin is on the ground-floor level.
It’s not clear how long The Lucerne will be used as a shelter. On one online travel site, the first available dates when rooms show up for tourists are in December (though that may simply be the online travel software and not an indication of the expected length of stay).