The fight over the Upper West Side’s homeless hotels may end up in the courts, as an opposition group has demanded the mayor produce a timeline for removing the shelters, according to NY1.
And The Legal Aid Society, the law firm for low-income families and individuals, says they’ll sue too if the city forces the homeless out of the hotels before it’s safe to do so.
The West Side Community Organization, a nonprofit that grew out of a Facebook group that opposes the shelter, has raised more than $100,000 and hired lawyer Randy Mastro, a former top official in the Giuliani administration.
The former deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani sent a letter to the mayor this week demanding a timeline for moving people out. He demanded that timeline be given by Friday, or the group would sue.
“So we’re saying to the mayor, fine you have acknowledged that this is not the solution, that circumstances have changed and there should an immediate change to move this vulnerable population out of SRO hotels where they are not getting the services they need. Mayor tell us when you are going to do that,” Mastro said. “Do it now!”
Legal Aid, however, says the city needs to keep homeless people in the hotels if it’s keeping them safe. Officials from the Department of Homeless Services say moving homeless people from close-packed shelters to hotels has saved lives during the Covid crisis.
“If the mayor caves to the racist NIMBYism from some residents of the UWS and forces vulnerable NYers from their hotel rooms back to congregate shelters before it is safe to do so, we will see him in court,” Legal Aid said on Twitter.