The city is delaying its plan to move men from The Lucerne Hotel to a Radission downtown to better prepare the downtown site, according to one of the men living at The Lucerne and a group fighting to keep them there.
The approximately 240 men who remain will now be moved to the Radisson near Wall Street on or after October 19. Initially, the move was expected to happen by October 5. The battle over the shelter — between some local residents who have pushed to have it removed and others who want it to stay — continues to rage on, but it’s not the main reason for the delay.
The problem, according to Da Homeless Hero, one of the men at The Lucerne, is that the new hotel wasn’t ready for them. The Radisson had previously been used as a quarantine site and still needs to be set up for the new residents, he said.
Beyond that, the constant upheaval — this will be the third time many of them have been forced to move since the pandemic began — has hurt the men at The Lucerne, he told us.
“The psychological trauma that the men of Lucerne have been experiencing since being used by pawns by the city will last for years to come. This part has not been properly addressed and I’m now working with Project Renewal’s Recovery Center, Open Hearts Initiative, and faith leaders from this community and throughout New York City to address these issues. It doesn’t matter where we go, what has been exposed in this recent weeks is the city’s total disregard for our health and wellness.
There is an effort to connect with community groups down there and find a way to secure local support for us. Leaving this area, we are also losing a tremendous amount of support that we’ve never had before. There was so much that the community provided that will be lost once we move and it will have a detrimental effect on us as we move. Many of us are working around the clock to prevent that with efforts to reach out to those who may oppose our being in the new neighborhood to develop positive dialogue. What happened here, and I don’t blame the community for this, was detrimental to the lives of a vulnerable population. This is the city’s fault and they should do the right thing to ensure that it never ever happens again. What has not come out is the fact that lives have been lost during this time.”
People living near the downtown Radisson have also begun to organize to prevent the men from living there.
The Department of Homeless Services did not respond to a request for comment.