The homeless men living at The Lucerne Hotel on 79th Street are expected to be moved to a Radisson near Wall Street by October 5. For many of them, it will be their third move since the start of the pandemic, after they were pushed out of hotels in midtown and then on the Upper West Side following opposition from some in the community.
The reception downtown looks like it could be icy too. The Daily News spoke to people who lead community groups nearby the Radisson, which is on William Street near Pine Street, and some are calling on the city to delay the move.
In a statement, Patrick Kennell, president of the Financial District Neighborhood Association, said there are “too many unanswered questions for a move this monumental to happen so quickly.”
Kennell said the group is demanding that Mayor de Blasio suspend the Oct. 5 move date and release the complete written plan for the proposed new shelter.
Others in the area are also wary, with a post on the Downtown NYCers for Safe Streets website, saying “this will be permanent and that “Our neighborhood already has over ten hotels being utilized as shelters, and now with the Radisson turning into a permanent location, we need to come up with solutions.”
Upper West Siders in a group called the UWS Open Hearts Initiative, meanwhile, are calling on the city to cancel the move, saying Mayor de Blasio caved to a group of wealthy people at the expense of the most vulnerable. Politicians including Borough President Gale Brewer have also called for the men to stay at The Lucerne. Brewer wrote in a statement:
“The abrupt relocation, to occur in the midst of a pandemic and religious observations, was announced by Mayor de Blasio’s administration after a local nonprofit already raised private money to provide employment and recreational activities to the men six days a week, a tremendous show of responsiveness to community concerns. Such opportunities for comprehensive services and recreational space are rare and need to be taken advantage of. Moreover, Project Renewal has said that the support of the UWS Open Hearts Initiative for Lucerne clients should serve as a model for community shelter relationships. Moving the clients will deprive them of this support, and the stability they deserve and need for their continued recovery.”