City Says It Won’t Add More Homeless Shelters on the UWS, and Says Notice of Sex Offender at Lucerne was Incorrect

The Lucerne Hotel.

With tensions high over the city’s decision to move homeless people into local hotels, the Department of Homeless Services released some clarifying information on Thursday.

In a note sent through Community Board 7, DHS said it does not plan to add new shelters inside hotels. Four local hotels have been converted to shelters in recent months to try to curb the spread of Covid-19 among the homeless.

The note even mentioned certain hotels in the message, attempting it seems to squash rumors before they spread. And with Upper West Siders paying special attention to the state’s registry of sex offenders, the agency said that one offender who showed up on that registry and said he lives at the Lucerne had added the address preemptively. (There are still sex offenders listed as living at the Belleclaire on 77th Street, but they fall into a Level 2 category that the city says allows them to live there.)

The full note is below:

“At a meeting with elected officials and community stakeholders on August 19, 2020, the City Department of Homeless Services stated that no other hotels on the Upper West Side will be considered for temporary emergency residence for individuals who are experiencing homelessness and coming from a shelter site in another part of NYC as part of the City’s initiative to prevent spread of COVID-19 in DHS shelters. For example, the Milburn Hotel and the Beacon will NOT be rented by DHS or any non-profit working with DHS. DHS has asked that we communicate this information as widely as possible.

At the August 19th meeting, DHS also reported that one individual who showed up on the State Registry as a Level 3 sex offender and staying at the Lucerne on W 79 Street was NOT a resident at this hotel. His address showed up at the Lucerne because he thought he was going to be housed there as he had been a client of Project Renewal; and because he followed the law, which is that he is mandated to list his address on the State Registry. DHS has advised the State to correct the registry.”

NEWS | 38 comments | permalink
    1. jay says:

      Do we actually believe that the City Department of Homeless Services would say that the rumors are substantiated?
      Saving face is priority one. Truthfulness takes a back seat.

    2. Steven says:

      Walked by the Lucern today & noticed they put a tint over the front doors so you can’t see inside at all. Not sure if that will work at night but it def does during the day. Guess they got tired of people posting photos of all the commotion with cops & paramedics in the lobby so often. Also, yesterday as I was on the corner of 79th & Amsterdam, I saw someone on the corner drinking Vodka out of a plastic Vodka bottle, finish it & throw it onto the ground (with a garbage pale not even a foot away). He then walked into the Lucern.

      • Sandy says:

        Wow, he drank vodka? Our of a BOTTLE? And then he… he… LITTERED?!?! Oh the humanity, what has the world come to? You can’t unsee that!

        Nice to see so many rich, uptight yuppies of the UWS continue to act like rich, uptight yuppies. Maybe if you guys stopped treating these people like zoo animals and began to think of them as human beings in need of help you’d be able to effect some changes in your neighborhoods. But when you treat people like subhuman trash, don’t be surprised when they treat you like garbage right back.

        • Anthony says:

          No one is saying this is a huge crime, it’s just indicative of what’s been going on. Or should we only report dead bodies in the street (or people OD-ing at the Duane Reade, which happened 10 das ago).

          I wonder if a bunch of rich, white, frat guys were doing this sort of thing openly: drinking in public, urinating in public, throwing trash on the street for no reason, harassing women, fighting all the time, screaming, would you be defending them? Why should this behavior not be called out, regardless of who is doing it?

        • CB says:

          Hi Sandy,

          I wonder if you have small children? I teach my children on a routine basis to pick up themselves and not ever to litter – I tell them that this is about basic respect, about being a considerate neighbor, about caring for our neighbors and friends.

          Since I come from a family where alcoholism has ravaged people, I find public intoxication and vodka drinking on the street – which is against the law – much less cute than you do. I have seen what drunk people do to themselves, to loved ones, and to strangers, even. It’s not pretty.

          Asking for people not to litter and not get drunk on vodka in there middle of the street isn’t yuppie/snobbish behavior. It’s asking people to be decent. It’s asking for respect. It’s asking for caring about your neighbor.

          I can’t at all understand why you would be opposed to such values and why you would attack someone who has such values.

        • babrarus says:

          Don’t know your gender (Sandy could be both) but I admire your writing skill.
          Oh, the horror of an empty plastic bottle of vodka on the pristine New York city sidewalk.
          Kind of wanna get up and move to the burbs.
          Imagine, a plastic bottle on the sidewalk.
          NYC really reached its end……

        • Rob G. says:

          Sandy, just because you set your own bar low doesn’t mean the rest of us have to. We pay high taxes, and part of the expectation for that is that in return, we get a halfway decent quality of life. That includes being able to walk down the street without having to dodge drunk, littering vagrants. It’s amazing to me that this disturbs you.

        • Concerned UWSer says:

          West Side Rag, not sure why you keep screening out my comments. You should treat everyone fairly.

          This was my response to Sandy if you don’t mind holding your own judgement (not sure what else it could be). I’m in line with your prerequisites.

          The person who drank alcohol, threw the liquor bottle on the street and probably got drunk and is supposed to be in REHAB. Getting COUNSELING. If that is how the shelters work, don’t you see that’s the problem?
          The whole point is to help those that need it and if they instead walk around all day and then drink alcohol, then it’s not working.

          If they can’t manage the program then it shouldn’t be here until they can. That’s the point. We are all for helping others (with our tax dollars) but we do not have to let the neighborhood go to Hell if they aren’t enforcing the laws and program.

          • Lisa says:

            Concerned UWSer: You are incorrect to assume that these men are in treatment or want to be sober. NYC can only offer the homeless drug and alcohol treatment – they cannot mandate it as other states do without changing the law. I’d be interested to know the percentage of men in these hotels who have refused treatment.

            • Da Homeless Hero says:

              It was said that 283 men “in recovery” were coming to the Lucerne, which was incorrect. The statement was made by DHS. The fact is that there are many of us who take part in Project Renewal’s Recovery Center and others who attend outpatient services throughout the city. However, there are still many who choose not to seek treatment. We’ve gotten the Recovery Center come on-site to offer services to anyone who would like it and they have been doing this for several weeks now with good attendance from residents but more has to be done for sure.

          • Da Homeless Hero says:

            Unfortunately, while Project Renewal has a great outpatient program, crisis center and detox, the shelter component is not a rehab or treatment program. It’s a cluster of people who they say are struggling with substance use disorder and mental health issues. Why this is done, I have no idea but I’ve been working to get more on-site participation from their outpatient program which has been coming to the hotel for several weeks now but it’s not a mandatory thing so the person has to want to take advantage of it. More needs to be done for sure.

        • Pedestrian says:

          No one is doing that. People have a right to be concerned and to express their concerns. The City has shamelessly left everyone down including the homeless, the residents and the small business. By the way there are many, many seniors living on fixed incomes on the UWS as well as hard working middle class families, don’t they deserve some consideration?.

          It would be nice if the City spend half as much time on real problems instead of the time it has spent on helping billionaires and developers make millions before the skip on out of the City.

        • dpUWS says:

          Wait, I just want to be clear here…I am an rich, uptight yuppy if I don’t want addicts drinking and littering in the streets of my neighborhood??? Do you realize for the majority of the people in the Lucerne, becoming an addict was a choice? No one forced the drugs or alcohol on them, they made a choice. Stop making excuses for people who made the bed that the now need to lie in (or in this case the ones my tax $$’s pay for). I am really getting tired of this leftist crap…their problem does not always need to become everyone’s problem…

        • Meghan says:

          You made me lol thank you

    3. Rob G. says:

      Small victory after all the misery the DHS has caused. Now the pressure must be kept on our elected officials to remove the disproportionate share of permanent shelters and supportive housing that has broken the back of the Upper West Side.

    4. Cami says:

      I recognize the sex offender guy! We live right by the Lucerne. He was here. Wish I had taken a photo at the time, they are lying!!!

    5. Marv says:

      Was chatting with one of the Lucerne security guards and he said that after 10PM they need extra security inside, there are scary fights, a ton of drugs, etc. They said it is very dangerous inside after 10PM. Don’t understand how they can house the dangerous men so close to schools in a family neighborhood…

    6. ASRR says:

      Tell me where the other 17 offenders are who are using the Belleclaire address? Did you finally realize the law of 1000 feet to a school? Much harder to lie in the digital age. Disgusting that you would put people who RAPED children right near a playground.

    7. ASRR says:

      Where are the other 13 that did the same thing at the Belleclaire. Did you finally realize you broke the law? You put child rapists on top of elementary schools. Shameful.

    8. UWS_lifer says:

      I wonder if they are still renting rooms at The Lucerene? Is the rest of the hotel closed?

      Mabye someone should volunteer to spend the night over there and see what is really going on, from the inside.

      Maybe a reporter or blogger or someone. Just an idea….would be a great story for someone in journalism to do. People go to war zones and disaster areas so why not?

      If I was 20 years younger I would do it myself. Come on, Millennials….let’s see what you got.

      • Da Homeless Hero says:

        What I view as a mistake is the shelter continuing to accept people from Bellevue to the hotel which means the original 283 people are not the same 283 people today. Some have been transferred from here leaving an opening for new people to come. I’ve shown concern over this and they informed me that they were slowing down on accepting new people. My concern is the spread of Covid-19 as much as the incidents of fights. Also, new people will take time to adjust to the neighborhood which may prolong getting things right.

    9. CB says:

      That is nice. But the current shelters still need to go immediately – and please, before the school year starts.

      It is so clear that these hotels have been poorly-handled and poorly-run disasters from the beginning. I am flabbergasted at the incompetence and lack of brains in the city government. Who on earth thought this was a good idea?

      The shelters have hurt our neighborhood enormously.
      My neighbors live in fear. Businesses suffer. Jobs are lost. Children watch drug addicts take drugs on the sidewalk. The men don’t wear masks or social distance — even though we know that is the most important way to stem the pandemic.

      And it is beyond clear the shelters are not doing the vulnerable folks who need help any favors. No one is winning here. No one.

    10. UWSWES says:

      The FEMA gravy train is pulling onto its final destination.

      That’s all.

    11. J. L. Rivers says:

      The comments section of this article, and those published about this issue in this website, have made me change my perception of the people of this neighborhood. The total lack of compassion for those in need exposed by this issue is simply sad and shines a light on the hypocrisy of most of you.

    12. Doe says:

      600 within 9 blocks is not enough? Common manners and decency is too much? Not being able to walk two blocks from my apartment without being intimidated or hassled is asking too much? What, exactly, could possibly be enough?

    13. Jeffrey Wiesenfeld says:

      People labor hard to move up. It is the American way and no one should apologize for it. In opposing Lindsay’s scatter-site housing attempt in Forest Hills in the early 70s, Koch became mayor because of the middle class vote stating, “You don’t bring people up by bringing others down.” The ones who should apologize begin with MARIO Cuomo whose deinstitutionalization program released people who -yes – belong in institutions. These are not group homes for people on the spectrum. People down on their luck can be integrated over time from shelters into housing. Criminals, hoodlums, mentally violent, “Larry Hogues,” pedophiles, et al. Government has NO RIGHT to inflict these persons on taxpayers seeking to live normal lives with their families.

    14. Anthony Smith says:

      The way the this administration did this is a huge microscom of its entire history of the last 6+ years: 1) do anything you want both to and in Manhattan; 2) NO concept of project management AND/OR horizontal communications: the defines both arrogance and incompetence. Having worked for 5 mayors (NOT this one!) I think I have the perspective to say we have the worst in my life time (I am 84!)

    15. Goober says:

      Perhaps all of the ppl commenting on here should start voting republican in local elections. Stop voting in these bad policies I suspect 90 pct of u voted deblasio lol

    16. LivableCity says:

      Just reading this as a community member and –
      – wishing folks would take a breath;
      – remember that housing people safely in a pandemic is actually a good public priority;
      – remember this is hard, for agencies, decision makers, and program administrators – not to mention the people without homes, struggling with addiction and mental illness;
      – we are going to continue to see and experience a lot we don’t like in this pandemic;
      – we have every right to seek accountability, public hygiene, safety – BUT
      – we also want to live in a community where our resources (hotels with safe rooms) help people in need.

      If street level behavior is a problem, are we speaking with the admins, the programs etc about that? Or just shouting about “these people”? It is a tough situation.

      Unfortunately with addicts who are still using, may come dealers, and public use, and overdoses. Extra security patrols, especially as folks get stressed between 8 and 10 pm, may really be warranted. Where those patrols come from is a good question- but maybe answerable. Social workers and medics? Some muscle and some expertise? I don’t know this answer.

      I applaud the West Side Rag for continuing coverage and focusing on the helpers. We all need help these days. One day at a time.

      My view: If half the empty luxury condos were to turns into supported housing for the mentally ill, as long as they have access to real help, that would be a plus.

      • Da Homeless Hero says:

        Very well put and exactly my sentiments. You even pointed out a time period that is important for more security presence. The Head of Security for Project Renewal has coordinated with the 20th Precint to have more of a presence during those times which I’ve seen. With 10pm being the curfew, everyone will be making their way to the Lucerne so there will be more people present. After, there will be no one from the Lucerne on the streets.

    17. jill says:

      What about dealing with the ones that are already on UWS?

    18. Mary says:

      As I am reading all above comments it is clear to me that some residents are very angry, frustrated , now feel unsafe, and are having to deal with the homeless individuals who have been “dropped” into this neighbourhood.
      While not all homeless people are drug users or mentally not well we have to realize that UWS residents have a problem with the individuals that are the dangerous ones who have no respect for themselves or for others.
      Every resident has the right to feel safe in their neighbourhood and not worry about being accosted by someone while walking on the street or worse. Yes, it is New York City …..not perfect but UWS families have considered this neighbourhood as mostly a safe place to live.
      What is fair? What is compassion ? What is safety?
      I don’t live in NYC full time but my daughters do. I worry about their safety and hearing these concerns from residents of UWS and the escalating problems with the homeless and their unruly behaviour is alarming.
      The DHS has the responsibility to take care of the homeless and be aware that they also have to consider the safety, especially during Covid , not to endanger the community- Compassion-For All -the residents of UWS and the homeless.
      Raise your concerns with the DHS and the MAYOR!.
      Make your voices heard for everyone. You can vote for the ones that you think can do a better job and demand the others to resign.

      Wishing you all more peace and patience.

      • Da Homeless Hero says:

        I personally respect everyone’s view and regardless of the spirit, I think voices on all sides need to be heard by our officials. What I do want to point out and I stand to be corrected, is that it’s been reported by the local precinct that crime in the area has not risen since we came to the hotel. Obviously, there are people who are out in the open doing things that do reflect bad on all of us, but if the reports are right then so far our being here has not caused a spike in crime.

    19. Marianne says:

      So it’s up to the registered sex offender to update the city of their location? That doesn’t sound very good. The city should be responsible to make sure they know where this person is and double check. They should get their act together and not report false information. Also, I looked up what a level two sex offender is, since they are allowed to stick around: “Tier 2 is reserved for individuals convicted of moderately-serious sex crimes and/or those convicted of a second sex offense. This includes violent misdemeanors and some felonies. The minimum registration requirements for Tier 2 offenders is 20 years. “ still worried Since a level two sex offender can also have committed a serious sex crime!!

    20. William Pearlman says:

      And DHS would never lie.

    21. nbmcs says:

      Last night walking on Amsterdam Ave. I encountered several people who were clearly unhinged and dangerous. Then I ran into a gentleman on 86th St. loudly yelling he was going to kill the next person who pissed him off. This was just a three block walk from dinner. I’ve lived & worked in NYC for a long time & never have seen conditions in NYC & the UWS deteriorate so quickly. I’m not a nervous or fearful type but the current climate definitely feels unsafe. I’m not placing blame on the hotels or homeless just observing ….. things are much worse in the neighborhood and I don’t want my kids in the city these days. I expect to see more residents leave NYC through the end of 2021.