By Scott Etkin
On Tuesday night, Community Board 7’s Health & Human Services Committee unanimously passed a resolution in support of plans for a “safe haven” transitional housing facility at 106-108 West 83rd Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues. Non-committee CB7 members also supported the resolution (5 in favor, 0 against, 0 abstains), which will be presented at the full board meeting for a vote on March 7th.
In a two-hour Zoom call, representatives from Breaking Ground, the organization that will operate the new “low-barrier transitional housing,” gave a presentation and then fielded dozens of questions from committee members and the public. Representatives from the New York City Department of Social Services and Department of Homeless Services, which chose the site for the facility, also joined the call to share information about the housing, which is expected to open in April. The facility is being funded by a budget allocation from Mayor Eric Adams to address homelessness.
Breaking Ground has three decades of experience and operates five transitional housing facilities, two in Manhattan and three in Brooklyn. Their facilities are different from traditional homeless shelters. Representatives explained that they have fewer residents, offer more services (including psychiatric counseling), and allow residents to stay in the building during the day.
While unhoused people from outside the neighborhood will be allowed to live at the 83rd Street facility, the focus will be on people living on the blocks and in the subway stations nearby. This is because unhoused people are often more comfortable in an area they’re familiar with, and unwilling to move to a shelter far away, the representatives explained.
Breaking Ground will source its residents by sending community outreach teams to walk the streets around the building. They will only offer temporary housing at the facility once they have established a relationship with the unhoused person. “The only referral criteria is that the individual is sleeping outside,” said Erin Madden, vice president of programs at Breaking Ground.
The facility is expected to open this spring with 80 beds for adult men and women, who will stay on separate floors. In the summer, Breaking Ground plans to expand to 108 beds across the two buildings. There will be single, double and triple rooms, as well as common areas, individual bathrooms and a small backyard space. The buildings previously served as transitional housing, but are not currently being used and have recently been renovated.
During the Q&A portion of the call, sentiments from the public were mixed. While some said this is a thoughtful approach and a needed solution for homelessness, others raised concerns about the site’s proximity to schools — such as P.S. 9 and M.S. 243 — and the possibility of drug and alcohol use and violence.
Representatives from Breaking Ground responded that it is safer for everyone for the unhoused to be moved indoors. There will be staffing at the front door and cameras operating 24/7 for security. They will also establish a Community Advisory Board to have an open dialogue with neighboring institutions, and address any issues.
The facility will have 40 to 50 staff members, including: case managers, resident advisors, housekeepers, clinicians, harm reduction specialists, and housing specialists. Staff will work with the residents, who often have multiple, chronic physical or mental conditions, to help them manage their symptoms and find permanent housing. Residents will receive three meals a day and have access to programming, such as art classes and gardening, in addition to meetings with clinical and housing specialists.
Some members of the public were disturbed that the plans for the facility were not shared more openly with the community. Committee Co-Chair Sheldon Fine pointed out that bringing a supportive housing facility to the neighborhood has been a priority of the committee for three years, and there has been active discussion about it.
Council Member Gale Brewer said that she has already contacted schools, religious institutions and businesses in the West 80s to inform them about the coming facility. “I am not a supporter of every nonprofit, but I am a supporter of Breaking Ground,” she said.
You can watch the entire Zoom meeting below.
I was present at that zoom.The public was invited to speak, which didn’t happen. Questions favorable were read by Sheldon Fine. Comments critical of this project were skipped over. Or assumed answered.. which they weren’t. The entire process lacks transparency.
There will be no vetting of residents. History of violence, drug addiction, sexual predators will not be examined. Imagine..108 beds instead of 80 instead of 30 all next to schools.
How about some true community input?
PS was a huge response against this project.
Everyone had the same access to submit questions. Just as a teacher leads a class, if students keep making the same comments and questions as the last student, you move on to the next question.
There will be vetting by a Street outreach team and most street homeless do not accept shelters because the shelter system is often not safe for individuals especially those who are most vulnerable like LGBTQ+ populations. Wraparound services on-site, access to counselors, private bathrooms, 3 meals a day in a warm supportive environment are meant to be the type of environment that they can say yes to. When you don’t have to worry about your next meal and where you are going to sleep or who will steal your things, you can focus on the next tier of needs.
Imagine if you will that the people who are going into this safe haven have been reluctant to trust anyone based on a history of trauma. Imagine that they are the vulnerable ones and need support and are not the least bit interested in the students across the street or the firehouse engine a few doors away. If you can treat these people as humans then you will not contribute to further traumatizing them.
563 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10024
This your city councilwoman phone #
While we can vent here, share your concerns with your elected officials.
My concern – the Lucerne and Belleclaire were suppose to be for the UWS homeless and they were filled with newly released inmates and Level 3 sex offenders ( 1000 feet from two playgrounds).
The amount of drug use was overwhelming.
Multiple fires and deaths.
This is not good for the neighborhood. We will have more crime etc. Duane Reade 89th – 90th street on Columbus is robbed everyday!!!
It sounds like most of the people will be those who are already in the neighborhood, sleeping outside near the schools. It seems safer for them AND for the kids at the schools if they are being housed and fed and their medical needs met.
Where’s the data that ANY of our local street homeless people have committed to entering the Safe Haven? Who? When? How many? Zero data offered. We have about 20-30 regular street homeless ppl. No one could provide an approx number on how many said they’re interested. You call this market research? Was this a contrived demand based on… nothing? Who speaks for the homeless? Go ask Victoria’s Secret guy if he wants to enter. Ask freckles. Ask them all. I don’t believe a single 1 of our local street homeless will end up in that haven. The 83rd street haven will be for… PEOPLE WHO COME FROM OTHER PLACES. Why they can’t be housed where they actually come from is a mystery.
There is no one sleeping outside the schools. Are you from this neighborhood? I don’t think so or you would know that.
So wrong. I live here.
I’m not in this neighborhood, but do you know that for certain? Does someone keep a list? I hope no child will be harmed by this decision.
I live nearby. I don’t see many if any in that area let alone 80 ppl. Broadway and 72 is another story.
There are many, many homeless living in our area, and if this effort helps them get off of our streets, I fully support it. How nice it would be to see fewer people sleeping on our sidewalks.
Why do we need to guess? Someone could have asked them if they have a desire to enter a safe haven locally. It’s yes or no. No one did that. As far as I know the demand is low to zero. The haven will mainly house poor people from poor zip codes, who, for whatever reason, are too good to live where they’re from. There is plenty of room for shelters everywhere. It makes the most
Sense to house ppl where they’re from.
My first thought when reading this was that I hope the outreach group starts their work on 72nd and B’way. The same men have been out there for 10+ years and their mental and physical health is clearly deteriorating. I would also hope that the man who has ‘lived’ in front of Victoria’s Secret, for even longer, would receive some assistance. I don’t know how they have managed to hang on for so long. I’m not sure why having them housed in this building is worse than having them on the street.
The problem is not that they are getting housing. The problem is that they are putting 100 or so people with severe trauma, addiction and criminal histories together in tight quarters, most likely 2 to 3 per bedroom. Nothing much different that the homeless shelters they try to avoid. A big component for the objection as well that this social experiment – which has already failed so many times – will take place across the street from the school yard of the elementary school on the corner of 83rd and Columbus and the middle school next to it.
Cant agree more. Combined with the answer how they did no outreach or research that the local perpetually street homeless will go here. Its a social experiment and I suspect more abt the jobs for the providers (those are secured) vs the residents. Not lots of street homeless on West 83rd but if they have their way….there will be. Build it and they will come!
The man in front of Victoria’s Secret grew up in the neighborhood. Periodically over the years he has received some sort of treatment.
He returns looking relatively well – and deteriorates
That’s just sad, I’ve seen him go from bad to worse but I’ve never seen him looking well. The man who was called ‘TieDyeGuy,’ once screamed at me that he had more right to live in my building than I did. It always made me wonder if he had lived there, but if I tried to have a conversation with him it would just set him off again. Thanks so much for the info.
The provider and Mr Fine were asked if a study was ever conducted that supported this location? Any surveys of potential users? Most local street homeless are not located near this spot and it is across the street from school playground. Only data provided was an anecdote from Mr Fine that he once mentioned it to a man named Chief who’s face lit up. The man was a Broadway. Questions were screened, conflicting answers were offered and it remains unclear if register sex offenders will be housed in this location. The shelter is being presented as something the community wants and it is also not clear where that data comes from. Its clearly something Gale and her Community Board want. Not sure it represented the views of many residents.
Do you think that the people who ask questions at CB7 meetings are representative of the community as a whole? The board is not elected, and the people who ask questions are a self selecting group with the time to spend a few hours on a Tuesday on a Zoom call.
People who work evenings, have young children, or just want their opinion to count without it taking hours every month are excluded. We think it’s a national scandal when voters in Georgia have to wait hours in line to vote once every two years and we call requiring the same time commitment to have your voice heard on the UWS the height of democracy. The community board system is unrepresentative and it needs to have its power substantially reduced.
These meetings should be held in person. Where men and women can look each other in the eye and share an honest word. Where supporters and opponents of the idea can gauge the other sides merits and debate. Where one can raise a real hand and be called on and, by golly, speak. In words. These virtual meetings that have no chat, no unfiltered public input are a sham.
I don’t agree with you based on my recent experience contributing written and spoke comments to the CB7 Transportation and Parks Boards who met to discuss construction of a deliverista amenities station in front of the 72d Street station on Broadway. Close to 200 comments were submitted and a dozen community members gave their spoken comments, which were overwhelmingly negative to the proposed location (but supported construction of an amenities hub). The CB7 committees responded with a thumbs down on location in line with community concerns. I don’t understand what went on with the 83d St discussion. I had assumed that there would have significant opposition as its location is so close to a school.
How many deliveristas gave testimony? CB7 advertised the meeting to discuss the hub with flyers in English, but I didn’t see any in Spanish (please alert me if I am incorrect!).
The board doesn’t meet in August because too many of the board members are out of town on vacation. We change the schedule of meetings for people with second homes, and then hold a meeting to discuss infrastructure for delivery workers in the middle of their work day. It’s not representative.
The community board should have the ability to offer an alternate site for any proposal, but not deny it outright.
Don’t you think Los Deliveristas Unidos/Workers Justice Project – the entity with the grant – would have done outreach to deliveristas?
BTW as I think you know when there are bicycle issues, TransAlt and Streetsblog galvanize its audience….
You mean Trans Alt and Open Streets use them for their benefit? They don’t really care abt them as people? No Way!!!!
You make interesting points. Does the Community Board exist to serve the needs of the community, the needs of the Council person, or as an obligation to some law or charter? Maybe they really weren’t that interested in the needs of the Deliveristas?
For whatever reason the difference seems
to be that the CB was NOT interested in hearing open community feedback unlike what occurred at the transporter meeting. As many neighbors have suggested to me, it appears this shelter was a done deal and it was Shelly’s job to push it through at any cost. Notice how Gale said nothing abt the process. She has always been a vocal supporter of more homeless shelters in the neighborhood. She was a huge supporter of the Lucerne as well and never could do anything to stop it. I suspect if the meeting was abt more illegal weed shops, somehing she opposes, she would have spoken up abt Shelly’s bullying approach.
There is still variety on the West Side and IMO not possible to assume there is consensus “representation”/opinion one way or another.
While I agree there are problems with the CB structure, there is no reason to disparage residents who are somehow able to attend,
Totally agree with all the above posts…..suggesting that West Siders “want” such an inappropriate project situated across the street from an elementary school. This is outrageous! Unconscionable as well as intentional by Brewer et al. She should step down as she does not represent my voice or voices of my neighbors who RESIDE on 83rd st.
The process does not seem representative. And why I find it crazy when Board members state things are what the community wants. They are basically an echo chamber for the rep who appoints them. If they go against her, they lose their appointment. And most represent vested interests who fund her initiatives.
It’s sooooooo undemocratic! It’s the complete opposite of transparency, integrity and concern for residents who pay taxes and more importantly send their youngsters to school. Where is the concern for children who will eventually observe troubled residents allowed to use drugs and require a holistic methodology, that is impossible to provide with three hots and a cot!? What is the social worker going to do when a resident is high on crack?
Hope the kids don’t witness the urinating and screaming of residents who are provided the opportunity to live free, while neighbors pay their taxes for this harrowing and dangerous problem. The homeless require an array of psycho-medico services that transcend an SRO with garden and art classes
Parents need to unite on this issue and call for Brewer’s resignation. Her actions are not simply amoral, they are dangerous.
I’m terrified for my children daily.
How do we organise and firmly present our issues to Brewer?
If someone knows how to start a petition to Gale Brewer regarding this, I will happily sign it.
Parents have the power! You do!
Organize with your PTA. Get parents to attend the next meeting via Zoom on March 7th@6:30pm.
I think having police presence is key. If, the community can’t stop this project? We must have policing….to protect our children and residents at-large. It’s beginning to feel frightening walking on the UWS. I say this after living on West side for over forty years. Protection is critical. It is natural for you to feel worried. Let’s try to support each other at the next meeting! Let’s get the word out to those who may not be aware of the changes that are being implemented without input by tax paying residents.
The provider has already reached out to the precincts, to the neighborhood businesses and the schools. They are initiating patrols and security.
And as a school parent of a child on 83rd st, I support this and model compassion for my children. What rational argument do you use to deny available homes to people who are homeless?
I live across from the Lucerne. It was promised that they would get adequate care and would get treatment, etc. Well the horrors that my children and I witnessed were astounding. Drugs, overdoses, fights, screaming, etc. So the rational argument is, why should children be subjected to this? It’s outrageous. And what about sex offenders? Can you say with certainty that there won’t be any? My children are at the age now where they are going to school and walking places by themselves. It terrifies me that they could be attacked. Yes I think everyone wants to help people in need. But housing people with severe trauma, addiction, and criminal behavior next to schools is ludicrous. That’s the rational argument. I for one will be calling, emailing everyone I can.
One argument might begin with the claim that Citizen A is not obligated to provide a home for Citizen B …
A counterargument then might begin with the claim that the problem is simply lack of sufficient affordable housing. One might speculate that Citizen B would be more likely to have a home if there were more homes.
This then kicks the issue back to the way real estate is dealt with in this town. I can hardly sort out all the issues, and I’m no expert. But could there be more affordable housing if government were less involved in this or that aspect of real estate, from rent control to tax breaks?
With all the talk of need for affordable housing, all we ever see is high end luxury or homeless shelters. We all know why. That is what is profitable.
At the meeting on Tues (maybe you missed it?) They said they notified them but no comment? I suspect they too are shocked and upset with the lack of inclusion. A head scratcher.
How do you know all this? The provider reaches out to the precincts and schools? I don’t have such information.
As far as “rational argument” is concerned, didn’t you read the comments? They are all very rational and well explained.
I highly doubt this is a sincere comment; most likely comes from someone affiliated with the provider or Brewer’s office.
You can know all this for yourself if you watch the meeting (video above the comments section). ^^ They say all that and more.
Most of these comments are fear mongering about a dystopian hellscape. I’ve seen that playbook but I don’t find it convincing. Tell me why bringing people inside and giving them bathrooms is going to lure them to come out onto the street to urinate. If we really want to take a note from the UES chick fil a of all places just opened a rest stop where all delivery workers can use bathrooms and rest and recharge.
Anyway I’d challenge you to find a block in our neighborhood that doesn’t have a school adjacent. If it’s not our school it will be someone else’s school. Would that make it better for you?
I think it’s strange that you believe the dissenters but question my sincerity. See you at the next PTA meeting?
Can you please share the link to the meeting. Thank you !
I would like to join a group of parents to call Gale Brewer on it. How do we do it?
I do not have young children. My kids are adults. However, first place to begin is getting in touch with your PTA representative. You can be sure there are other parents who are also concerned. Perhaps, the PTA rep. and other parents will register to attend the next CB meeting on March 7th at 6:30pm. Individuals need to pre-register at least one day before the meeting on the CB7’s webpage. You can attend via Zoom or by phone.
I would encourage parents and other concerned citizens to draft a petition in efforts to STOP this project. I am not a lawyer! Perhaps there is a lawyer in the community to offer guidance? Can a TRO be obtained in efforts to pause the project? I don’t know. I just found this news out this afternoon. It sounds like a done deal. The Mayor wants it.
Finally, calls to Brewer’s office are probably useless at this point but, I called to register my concerns. The message recorder was very polite and patient. It appears we will have to wait until Election Day to vote Brewer out. BUT: I think a Police presence should be appointed to the placement. Officers from the 82nd St. precinct should be on duty to guarantee safety for all. IMO. That needs to be robustly iterated to the Board!
Is there a lawyer in this forum who can draft a petition? I will then pass it on to my schools’s PTA though I don’t expect a response since it is a city-wide school.
If someone can draft a petition, we, parents, should forward it to the schools’ PTAs.
Dana……Yes! Yes! Yes!
We need a lawyer to draft a petition for circulation….STAT!
When I walk past the Rita Berger House at night, there are often guys harassing people on the sidewalks. Saw a guy on the stoop of that place spit on a girl as she walked by. Will this be more of that?
If someone said, we are planning to build 1 new psychiatric hospital per year each 3-4 blocks from the other, you’d say this is nuts. No one would cry NIMBY, they would understand that 1 psych hospital is enough for one town. Maybe put the next one a bit farther down the road. This is the same thing. These are mini psych hospitals in everything but their name. They house and treat mentally ill ppl with some supervision. But how much is too much? It’s not the same as housing me and you. These are no diff from psych hospitals. Many of them need to be hospitalized and would be in any other normal country.
Very well put and exactly why there should be no more on the UWS. We are already fully saturated.
3 on one block now on West 83rd. They are adding another on West 97th where there are already 2 shelters and someone just got murdered in one of them 2 weeks ago.
Should I mention 2 more on West 95th Street, 1 on W. 98th, 1 on W. 94th…etc etc etc. Should I go on?
Rita Berger House used to be one of the many supportive housing facilities where you never saw a resident or even knew anyone lived there. The residents clearly blended into the neighborhood? What has changed?
Blended? They have a severely schizophrenic person standing outside who talks to himself and has many so many antisemitic comments to our family as we pass him on our way to synagogue. I don’t report him to police bc I’m aware that he’s mentally ill. But, I also didn’t sign up for living in a community that has mini psychiatric centers on every other block, which many of these housing projects kinda are.
So sorry. It used to seem less of a problem. Im sorry you are living with antisemetic rage. Makes me question the statements about ppl being local. UWS has always had a strong jewish presence and is quite diverse. Hard to understand how a person who hates jewish ppl would pick this neighborhood and be supported by a neighborhood with such a large jewish population. Mental Illness is no excuse and Im sorry for you and your kids feeling scared.
To summarize, 108 beds for people who often have multiple, chronic physical and/or mental conditions, with the potential for drug and alcohol use, and violence.
As dangerous as these people may be, it’s the CB board members who are destroying the neighborhood.
Thank you all for objecting to this hideous idea of yet another dangerous shelter in our midst. Another reason to never go out at night in this neighborhood and definitely not want to live here. CB board members ARE destroying our lives and we demand to know why. And WHY haven’t they even noticed 72nd and Broadway and the disgusting blocks up to 81st…someone somewhere on this board is deeply involved in these plans . An investigation would really be a good idea. I will join any march to prevent these nightmarish “shelters” from opening.
Destructive policies like this is why I read every day about New Yorkers fleeing to Florida and other red states.
Even “progressive” UWSers have their limits.
Once my kid is done with school we’re leaving also.
Terrific news. Everyone deserves safe and affordable housing. Now to address the half block of apartments on Amsterdam between 88 and 89 that appears to be warehoused for no apparent reason….
I hold you and everyone who approved this personally responsible for any harm that comes to any children. STEPS from an elementary school. This is insane. CB7 will have the blood of children on their hands.
Absolutely. This will be negligence and consequences for those involved as the inevitable unfolds. I’m not kidding when I say this has triggered us to put our apartment on 83rd on the market. We have 2 kids at PS9 which is a great school. But that yard is wide open steps to that address. Gross negligence
Those 4 buildings will be razed as soon as 2 tenants leave and much needed luxury housing will be erected.
That is terrible.
Would it be possible to provide more information about what is happening?
566-572 amsterdam are owned by Frank Ortiz . There are 2 tenants left in 568, when they are gone ,plans are for those 4 buildings to be torn down and high rise to be built. dont know how many stories.
West Side Rag,
Could WSR do an article about 566-572 Amsterdam situation- the apartments held vacant for teardown and luxury replacement?
The NYT etc have been silent for years about all the actual affordable housing lost. The Upper East Side especially is full of entire blocks where small buildings were held vacant until landlords/developers could tear down and construct luxury high-rise
Correction: the adresses are 568,570 , 572 and the wraparound building on corner 200 w 88 st.
A couple of weeks ago, at about 8:30 pm, I was walking towards the corner of 86th and Broadway. As I neared Mitchell’s, a woman was begging for money. As I neared the fruit stand at the corner, a homeless man was both urinating and defecating right in the middle of the street. I fear for my beloved neighborhood, which is going downhill will every passing day. Wish Michael Bloomberg could be our mayor again. Also wish that I had heard about this shelter being established before I had read the above article. I already avoid going past B’wy and 92nd Street because I don’t feel safe. It’s appalling that this decision was made with input from local residents.
It is terrible, and it seems like most of the people on this thread are happy to keep it this way.
I for one, would be thrilled to not have to encounter half as many homeless living under scaffolding as I do now. The main way to realize that is to provide them with housing and wrap around services, just like this model. Get them off the street and into a place with services.
What does NOT work is to refuse to offer housing or any support and wish and demand that they just go away. That literally never works and just means we will continue to see people living under cardboard.
This is a reputable organization that is offering housing and support so that homeless people can find a healthy way forward and out of their situations. They aren’t just throwing random people into the shelter and crossing their fingers.
For all the parents on here : Are you seriously more happy to walk past the woman on 104th and Broadway every morning who literally sleeps on concrete and explain to your kids that she doesn’t deserve housing?
The problem is not that they are getting housing. The problem is that they are putting 100 or so people with severe trauma, addiction and criminal histories together in tight quarters, most likely 2 to 3 per bedroom. Nothing much different that the homeless shelters they try to avoid and one of therein reasons why they rather sleep in the streets. A big component for the objection as well is that this social experiment – which has already failed so many times – will take place across the street from the school yard of the elementary school on the corner of 83rd and Columbus and the middle school next to it.
Center School (The middle school) and PS 9 share a building. The kindergarten playground and classrooms are right across from this proposed homeless shelter. This is the wrong site for this homeless drop in shelter.
Maybe he wouldn’t be relieivng himself in the middle of the street if he had access to a bed and a bathroom.
Well those Lucerne, Belleclaire ex-cons had luxury hotel rooms and still chose to poop and piss in our streets!!
That bed and bathroom could be provided somewhere that is not directly across the street from an elementary school. And it could be provided more cost-effectively somewhere else. I would be happy to provide more affordable housing in our neighborhood for the hard-working people who commute long distances to jobs on the UWS. Teachers. Nurses. Cops. Doormen. Bodega owners/workers. Restaurant workers.
This virtue-signaling whataboutism is completely out of hand. I am a lifelong Democrat who is embarrassed by what the far left wing of our party has become. You’re almost as bad as Trump’s MAGAites.
Exactly. Why do they have to live in the middle of a densely populated city where per sq ft rates are highest in the country?
Steps from elementary school
Will someone please primary Gale Brewer? She’s a classic NYC political hack, but of course wins by a landslide due to name recognition.
Who was the alternative in the primary who would have fought against shelters instead of begging for more of them?
2021 New York City Council election, District 6
Party Candidate Votes %
Gale Brewer 21,594 54.8%
Maria Danzilo 5,834 14.8%
Sara Lind 5,166 13.1%
Jeffrey Omura 3,922 9.9%
David Gold 1,867 4.7%
Zack Weiner 959 2.4%
Write-ins 57 0.1%
Total votes 39,399 100.0%
BTW Sara Lind is chiefly focused on expanding bicycle infrastructure and expanding services for the homeless.
MARIA DANZILLO, that’s who. She has been on Twitter voicing her concern before this meeting and is against this.
She was on the Zoom wanting to speak but CB7 didn’t ALLOW anyone to speak.
EVERYONE in this neighborhood needs to go vote. EVERY single vote matters in our case & if everyone who was upset at the Lucerne nightmare had gone out and voted for Maria Danzillo she would have won and would have been fighting this shelter from the start instead of welcoming it.
Only VOTING will change things. I pray Maria Danzillo, a Democrat, runs again against Gale Brewer. THAT is our only chance of fixing this neighborhood.
I voted for Danzilo in both the State Senate primary and in the general election, when she was third partied. So far she is nowhere near having the organization and money that it takes …
Agreed. She seemed excellent. Core Democrat values but a good head on her shoulders – unlike the others who denied that there is a problem, she wanted to do something about it, but not in a hateful way.
She got a lot of good discussion here on WSR but all of the other lemmings on the UWS just pulled the lever for the same people, then complain when things don’t change.
Many West Siders are extremely sensitive the issue of homelessness and the need for services for this needy population…but this location is NOT the appropriate solution. Placing a shelter with drug addicted and mentally ill people across from a school is simply crazy and dangerous thinking. What the community board must come to understand is that our precious children are the MOST vulnerable of all. …and they need our protection, first and foremost. Children should never be exposed to this risk on a daily basis. Bottom line, the community board, and other well intention professionals can never fully guarantee parents the physical and psychological safety of their children…..despite their hopeful intentions and double peak. Protect our children PLEASE!
Can I save everyone some time commenting and simply summarize all of the comments that will be made:
“Not in my back yard!”
ENOUGH in my back yard!
The UWS has more supportive beds than most other districts.
It isn’t as though there aren’t already multiple facilities for homeless people on the UWS.
They don’t like traditional shelters that have rules. They are targeting ppl who want to live in NY without rules.
Yes, exactly, not in my backyard, not next to my children. That’s what any sane, rational person would say to this. Everyone else is virtue signaling.
Oh there is plenty in our back yard. Like a 1000 beds. Manhattan Valley has been turned into supportive housing central.
The UWS is overflowing with shelters and SRO’s. Our backyard is full already! It’s time for other neighborhoods eg UES to increase their share!
Just out of curiosity, since the UWS has more shelters than the UES, exactly how many more shelters do we have than they have? Actually , how many shelters do we have? How many do they have? How many are downtown?
There are 8 shelters just in a 5 block radius in the West 90’s. 8 shelters just in 5 blocks. The West 90’s & 100’s are saturated already.
West 83rd street already has 2 there on that block. That is 10 shelters just in 6 blocks on the UWS. This is not NIMBY.
The entire UES has about 7 in their whole neighborhood.
The Department of Homeless Services was asked that in this meeting and pretended not to know. Of course they know. Because Gale Brewer & the Community Board never push back, they go right to the UWS.
This was a halfway home before. Before they closed a resident killed his roommate with a kitchen knife there. Before that a convicted sex offender also living there nearly killed a young woman walking her dog on 85th and CPW. Not long ago a woman was killed in her apt. A few buildings down the street. From 106-108. by the súper of her building who was in a rehab program and had been recently released from prison. My daughter is so traumatized by her experiences walking in front of those buildings on her way to school she won’t walk on that street. There will be crime. There will be drugs. Our children won’t be safe. Children learn by example. I say no to those two buildings across the street from two schools. Safe haven is a place where you can drop your child at school and know that they will be safe.
I grew up and went to high school in the city at a time when Union Square was one of the narcotics hubs of the East Coast. – you didn’t walk through it (unless you wanted to buy) and most of us kept across the street. I can report that although a few of my classmates were mugged, it was rare – and one learned to travel with buddies, cross streets or avoid certain blocks, and not wear grabbable expensive visible things (like headphones and fancy coats or bags these days) . As for younger kids – they just weren’t targets. So your precious young kids may be safer than you think and they will have time to learn how to be street smart.
If getting people who have serious problems safely off the street into well-staffed, 24hour housing isn’t an improvement for everyone in the community , kids included, what is? Kids understand people may be out of it, or need help, or maybe should be watched out for / stayed away from if they are acting unpredictably or there might be trouble. If those people can get help, hallelujah and good luck to them.
Keep up the good work, Breaking Ground! Hope every program gets staffed and helps. This is not easy work for anyone.
No one saying it’s not a great thing to help them. We are asking why the need to import homeless from all over. Why they can’t be housed where they from. This haven will not attract our local 20-30 street homeless ppl. They don’t want it. Why do we need to sacrifice anything to house ppl who can be housed where they’re from? Where’s the logic?
Thank you Wendy. We have had it with Gail Brewer and you are so right. Kick backs and cash are the only reason we are plagued with overflowing shelters. The UES is so lucky NOT TO HAVE GAIL BREWER. Nothing good or fine or decent happens on the UWS. we are done and whoever wanted to destroy our neighborhood…you have suceeded.
Are you saying look I went through a lot growing up. Yeah some of my friends got mugged but I made it. Look how good I turned out. Are you also asking us to treat our kids the way you were raised. And tell them that hardship will serve them well. I’m trying to the opposite of that. My daughter was told to go inside that building that they were going to show her how to user her legs. I’m sorry I have to strongly disagree with your opinion.
I’m so sorry your daughter had to experience that comment. That sounds shocking. But I’m sure you as a parent helped her handle it – whether by deciding to avoid that block or some other way. People yell things on the street sometimes in most cities I have lived in. Sometimes you are the target, especially if you are a woman. You always have to know the difference between what is just rude, or annoying, or a danger – and how to handle yourself and keep yourself safe. For my own daughter, I did want her to keep her eyes open and not be afraid, but know how to carry herself in a range of situations. She grew up here and has just moved back. (Also, my earlier comment was not to say times were bad and I survived – it was a reminder that at a statistically much more dangerous time than now, it actually wasn’t that dangerous for relatively affluent secure kids being smart and minding their business. So I don’t think it is now.) None of us want anyone to get mugged of course – not older people, or younger. Or spat on. Or verbally harassed. This housing sounds so much better than most. Keep up the specific documentation and communication if there are incidents – it sounds like they want to know.
And what if you are wrong? Why take risks with kids’ well-being? I went to a high school with daily knife fights, and I survived. Do you want to send your kids/grandkids to such a school? Why not? I survived!
This is insane. Gail Brewer once again sold the UWS down the river. We saw what happened with Lucerne. The folks that are on the street will never agree to be brought there. Chief refused service just like “Monk/JohnTucker/Victoria Secret Guy” does. It sounds like they are going to bring folks in from other areas which we do not need. I am sure they are all getting kick backs. If they want to have dangerous people house somewhere they can offer their own homes, not mine.
If anyone looks at the WSR comments from 2 years ago on, you will notice the distinct change in views and we are all finally verbalizing how fed up we are with the CB7 and Gale Brewer making decisions only for what THEY view, not representing the community as a whole.
We all know that our UWS has boatloads of shelters and assistant housing – there is no one here that is a NIMBY. No one. We all know it is now out of control & the only way to stop this is to vote Gale Brewer out so we have someone who looks out for EVERYONE, not just who she chooses to represent.
Last night was a bunch of elitists looking down on those that had valid concerns. They did not and not even bother to allow people to speak. Questions were either ignored or barely read.
Someone asked about the UWS number of shelter beds. How can the Dept of Homeless Services not know how many shelter beds are already on the UWS compared to other neighborhoods? We are supposed to “hear back”. Of course, they know and do not want to say what is obvious – we have been the dumping ground because our representatives never push back – they only WELCOME more shelters when it is already unmanageable.
Is this really a fair UWS or is it just for those who have their own views and everyone else can go to Hell? If people do not vote out Gale Brewer this will stay just as it is and only get worse. How much more proof do you need?
Oh yes-let’s build these places right by schools and be sure to put them in neighborhoods where the unhoused are more comfortable! This is the epitome of crazy! We who are housed need to feel comfortable too and know our children are safe!
Is there any history of these working, on the UWS? The ones in the low 90s don’t seem good. There was a murder a couple weeks ago at the one on 97th.
With the murder a couple streets down from this location a month ago, it seems at best politically tone deaf.
Why don’t I hear about things like this on the UES?
Unhoused people? Seriously? First the term bum was offensive. Now the term homeless is offensive? What’s actually offensive is tax-paying, law-abiding citizens being subjected to an endless stream of homeless alcoholics, junkies, mental patients and illegal aliens living on the streets and in the hotels of our city. And golly gee, maybe if we ask a junkie nice enough, they might consider moving into a hotel. Manhattan masochists! Our city is close to turning into Portland or San Francisco.
When is enough, enough???
“Unhoused” is silly-woke nonsense – enough already
Does the Upper East Side have as many shelters?
There are 5 shelters in the East 80’s-90’s as well as shelters in other areas. There are also halfway houses for teens (I believe their parents are incarcerated).
There are 5 shelters? Addresses please? Excuse me but a shelter or supportive housing program that houses 25 ppl versus 108 is not the same thing. 108 ppl. 1-0-8. East side has some tiny ones.
Will they have security when kids are walking to and from PS9? Nope. We will have to wait until a kid is assaulted or worse. We have a home for former rapists opening on 97th. How much more of this nonsense do we have to deal with. This neighborhood is turning into a dumping ground.
From past experiences they will be sitting outside, drinking, using and selling drugs, screaming, leaving garbage everywhere, urinating and worse in public. No one will dare to do or say anything out of respect for the new constituents. Maybe out of fear. It will go on and on until something terrible happens Like it was the case not long ago for a poor woman on 83rd between Columbus and Amsterdam where she was murdered by a repeat offender who had been offered housing and a job in her building as part of his rehabilitation program, and where none of the residents had been informed about this arrangement. When something like this happens again, these safe havens will have to close again. . That is pretty much how it goes. I hope this answers your question.
Oh The city installed bright lights in the corner of 83rd and Columbus after complaints were made public about crime and drugs being sold around the corner from the police station, and across the street from the school yard. Also please know
that this is about to change.
I agree with what I am reading below. Public input should be a must. What happened here? While the Board and Council may have been considering this for years I for one have not heard about it, and here this proposal is in a residential area flooded with school children? Do over!
For those who are not familiar with PS9, this is not only across from PS9, but it is across from the kindergarten entrance and playground. It is also across from the entrance where Center School students come and go – these are pre-teen kids who are often walking to and from school alone for the first time.
This is truly unbelievable. Who thinks this is a good idea? Something like this should not be within at least half a block of a school, especially an elementary school.
When I talk to friends in the rest of America, they think I am a super progressive liberal. But compared to others in this neighborhood, I am apparently a MAGA Republican. All of the bleeding hearts here who are tripping over themselves to help others are actually doing more harm than good. As the saying goes, they are so open minded their brains are falling out.
When the first incident happens with a resident of this home, the CB7 members should be held criminally responsible.
I wish they could! There should be a federal law that prevents government officials from exposing our school children from the inevitable horrors coming their way when such a facility such as this is placed directly across an elementary school .This is . CHILD MALTREATMENT ….where is the PS 9 school administrators, PTA and all the fierce mama bears of the west side?
What is wrong with CB7? Do they represent UWSers or not? We have more than a 1000 supportive housing beds because numerous organizations make their home here so they create facilities here. The Upper East Side has maybe 4 beds. I support and am glad for to supportive housing. I just think other neighborhoods in NYC should do their part too. Not just us. Ditto bike lanes.
I visit a Breaking Ground facility frequently. Expect people hanging out outside smoking and harassing you.
Gotta love when uwsers get all bent out of shape,when the things they voted for dont go their way.
Gail is betting on the short memory of the residents, and it looks like she is ahead. Do we not remember “Woman Beaten and Bitten in Attempted Rape on Central Park West” by a resident in *that* halfway house.
UWS – stand up to this nonsense! Call, email her office and other representatives. Put an end to this or she will continue to worry about “dark stores” while populating school blocks with mentally unstable people. And if you think 102! beds will house *only* homeless from this neighborhood, I have a dark store I can sell you…
How do you house/accommodate over one hundred people in two small buildings like 106-108 ? 2 to 3 per bedroom. A recipe for disaster.
There are some singles. Who gets the single room? How many ppl would love a single room
for free on West 83. Plus 3 meals a day? Free mental health. And programming.
Folks, if you want to be effective, you have to spell people’s name’s correctly. It’s GALE, not Gail.
My apology. My mistake. I misnomered you and I realized it and forwarded an apology. It never was posted!
Good morning. Please see my post above in response to Tim.
ITA with you.
Perhaps, a protest at Brewer’s office?
I’m concerned about the follow up. If, this is a done deal, WHO will be collecting data as to the status of residents and their progress? Are public health officials going to assess? And provide information to the community that does not violate HIPPA regulations? Perhaps, this was addressed in the meeting? IDK.
Is there not a single investigative reporting entity that would examine the connections between the politicians, the landlords, and the executives of so-called ‘non-profit’ social services agencies, ALL OF WHOM receive public resources from taxpayer dollars?
That unholy triumvirate profit off the ever-lowering quality of life on the UWS, and bear much of the responsibility for increased crime, decreased public safety, and vacant storefronts vacated by business owners who can no longer make a living doing business in a neighborhood that is rapidly devolving into an open-air insane asylum.
As a current small business owner on the UWS, you are 100% correct about doing business in a neighborhood that is rapidly devolving into an open-air insane asylum. The amount of troubles we have on a daily basis makes staying in this neighborhood not feasible. To pay a Manhattan rent and not have enough walk-by traffic exasperated by the deterioration of the neighborhood doesn’t make sense anymore. Please believe this. Other neighborhoods in Manhattan are in better shape with the same rents or lower. I wish people would understand this. Quality of life and safety affect businesses more than you could ever realize. Do we still want storefronts that are welcoming and lively or do we want vacant stores on every block on the UWS, worse than it is now?
Last week my wife and I went for a walk and we wanted to pick up coffee. There were a couple of homeless guys smoking pot and causing problems in front of the place we planned on purchasing coffee from.
So we walked a few blocks north to a Starbucks which had safer and cleaner surroundings.
It’s a shame small business owners suffer because of progressive policies.
to concerned business owner:
The City only cares about restaurants – not small shops.
The City has permitted restaurant street shacks (free space), ignored restaurant trash/rats and closed streets so restaurants have even more space.
Some restaurant shacks even block visibility of small shops.
The City has not helped with commercial rent protection, ecommerce impact on small shops, chain incursion.
BTW the restaurant industry lobbyist is on CB7
Interesting observation. We have a board member who reps the restaurant industry (Andrew Riggi) but not anyone who reps individual small businesses who try to serve our community. Maybe why there are so many empty stores? And quite a few bike lobbyists.
I know, thank you. It is extremely discouraging to the small shops here in NYC which is why we take our troubles so seriously. Our current elected officials have let us down terribly.
Glad I don’t own property on that block.
I feel sorry for PS9 parents.
It is striking…
1. There are thousands of people in the City’s homeless shelter system, many in grim to scary congregate facilities. Some have jobs (low-paying). Many will never be able to find housing.
The City focuses its efforts on people with unsolvable needs (drugs, mental illness) – and completely ignores “regular” homeless people who could succeed with a little help.
2. Per Pauline’s comment, there is affordable housing warehoused/lost – but the City and elected officials completely ignore this, do nothing to protect…
These buildings could have become low income rentals. Again, tons of talk of the need for affordable apartments but I suppose homeless shelters are more profitable to the landlords and the politicians.
Can someone please arrange a protest n front of Brewers office on a Saturday and post date and time here.. and posters UWS and in area newspapers. We need thousands in the street.
I’m in. Just don’t know how to start the process.
My comments are bring censored. I wrote several that have not been posted!! Very strange. There needs to be documentation of this matter and it’s evolution. If, it all works out well? Great! But, if the indigent are hanging out all over the neighborhood then, alternatives will need to be examined.
There must be someone who can document the process that took place and the results that are yet to emerge. Perhaps, it will be fine,
However, public health officials should be on top of this and providing the community (who pays their salary) data regrading the outcome.
I’ve seen 9 of your posts in this thread alone. If you’re aware that ‘the indigent are hanging out all over the neighborhood’, then why haven’t you or any of the parents here done something about that issue to spare your children seeing mentally ill people living on the street? Now that housing has been suggested the rest of us have ‘blood on our hands,’ parents are threatening to move and take their kids out of school, and we’re suddenly responsible for the safety of your children? How many of you are going to post, ‘we should get a lawyer,’ before someone actually does something to organize this? Just more of the same…
UWSers are such doormats. Look at this UES homeless shelter plan –seems like it got blocked pretty fast by our neighbors across the way. https://patch.com/new-york/upper-east-side-nyc/upper-east-side-safe-haven-plans-jolted-shelter-provider-drops-out
hard pass on that due to that fact that the process appears to hijacked
and due to the fact that several murders have already occurred in that building (not a tv series)
Great job we need more help for the homeless, mental health issues, and people that are just down on their luck. There should be places like this in every city, state with these problems Just saying!!!
I’m really excited that this Safe Haven with a great provider is coming to our neighborhood to help people. So glad that in a few short weeks people sleeping on the street can benefit from a warm bed and services they need and get on the path to permanent housing.
I’m glad the neighborhood will be getting this Safe Haven shelter. As some others have commented, Safe Havens are one of the most effective ways of getting folks into stable housing with treatment and ultimately permanent housing. Seems like a development that can only improve the quality of life for all in this neighborhood, residents and neighbors alike.
There is no dispute that chronically homeless people with mental illness, drug addiction or other intractable issues need help. We do not have enough mental health beds in the city and we need more. This model should not be a replacement for mental health facilities, but if it is going to be used we need to be realistic about how it is implemented to give it the best chance of success. The community board itself approved, and experts agree that size is critical. 108 beds is too big and there is a very small number of people in the district who fit the model. Experts say the model is likely to be most successful for people who live in District so it should be restricted to that.
( Even our community board supported safe havens conceptually provided it was limited to a small facility for local people in district.)
Since the facilities contain no barriers to entry, location is critical. A 108 bed facility across from a playground, near many schools and the a children’s Museum, on an already destabilized street in an area with many shelters , with a liquor store and pot shop across the street, a few doors away from where Maria Hernandez was murdered in her home just a few weeks ago, just does not fit the bill.
The community board needs to take a step back and engage with the residents , small businesses and others to find a place to site a safe haven that works for the community. These building should be turned into permanent affordable housing for people being priced out of the neighborhood. Would love to see a building for young creative people coming to the city, LGBTQ+ , the elderly, first responders, etc.
Instead of more sheter facilities,, which are a revolving door, lack oversight or expectations of results, Mayor Adams should invest in humane psychiatric facilities with wrap around services and then transition those who can, to supportive housing.
Severly mentally ill and addicted are unlikely to be helped by Safe Havens, but cramming 108 people in these buildings will certainly lines the pockets of the provider.
I voted for you and will vote again.
What should we do in this horrible situation?
Maria, thank you!
Please help. What can we do now to prevent it from happening?
This is not safe for the other 95% of the population that has to live in the area. We have to stop catering to small vocal minorities
I doubt that my comment will change anyone’s minds/opinions but figured nonetheless it is worth leaving here. (Apologies if I at times sound flippant- that is not my intent!)
In regards to the potential danger to children that residents of the Safe Haven pose, being so close to a school, it’s worth reminding that the majority of crimes, especially toward children, are committed by individuals known to and/or close to the children. So statically speaking, the more dangerous places for UWS’ children are within their own homes or the homes of friends/acquaintances and not the locations (ie school) near the Safe Haven.
In terms of quality of life issues (Safe Haven residents being vulgar, inappropriate, scary, etc)- although unpleasant and scary… probably not a bad thing for children to learn about the scary things in the world, and how to adapt and to protect themselves. (This is also assuming that most Safe Haven residents will behave as such)
In terms of general safety concerns- there is a police precinct on 120 West 82nd street.
Sure – then why bother with sex offender registries? Arresting the trigger-happy drug dealers that might start congregating there? Worrying at all about civility, decorum, respect? I guess the earlier we expose children to all this, the better for everyone! And of course, we know that the precinct on the next street will scare everyone into good behavior – as proven by the spike in burglaries, recent murder, etc. in the area.
Children should not have to ADAPT to things that are scary, vulgar and inappropriate. That is what breaks them on the inside. Adults should protect them from these disturbing kinds of things.
Thank you, Dr. Leah,^^^
Exactly what I have been attempting to articulate in several of my previous posts. There are professionals who are responsible for the safety of youngsters, mandated by law, to report incidents of abuse/neglect to the appropriate NYS authorities for children, as well as the elderly.
Youngsters simply observing schizophrenogenic individuals standing/smoking and situated on the street, may border on emotional trauma. Previously working in a psychiatric setting? I encountered several screaming patients who spit, urinated and pushed staff members attempting to offer compassionate help, and it was indeed traumatic to observe, no
matter one’s age. I certainly hope that the proposed occupants will be psychosocially vetted and will comply with psycho medications as needed. One can hope.
I don’t have children in the school. However, it takes a village to protect our youngsters from the possibilities that MAY emerge. It sounds like it will not simply be a homeless population but rather individuals with more complicated psychiatric issues that require a multimodal approach to addiction and serious disorders as outlined in the DSM 5, 2022. There needs to be an evaluation process in place by HHS prior to ANY admission (s) in efforts to insure the safety of: residents and community members at-large. Perhaps, all of this is being examined by the appropriate personnel. I do not know. I did not participate in the initial meeting via Zoom and trust it is the beginning of a dialogue that will continue, with the thoughtful input as iterated by Maria Danzilo and Others who have posted their sense and sensibilities regarding the overall safety, growth and development of children.
I am 100% supportive of the safe haven. Opponents think that our neighborhood should be “protected” from the unhoused and housing insecure. What we need to do is protect our city’s most vulnerable. We already bear a disproportionate low weight of caring for the city’s unhoused by providing shelter, etc. It’s time for us to step up and meet the moment. Enough with the NIMBY’s – this is NYC, and we welcome all here!
Children are our city’s MOST vulnerable….not the population you describe.
Children should never be exposed to such emotional risk as they walk home or play at school; school must be THEIR Safe Haven. This is not fear mongering, but rather such a program will engender fear in children especially when they will be nervously be warned by their parents to be extra careful, and as they witness crazy/lude threatening behavior which will obviously happen. This will only foster hypervigilance and anxiety in the very young.
We have all witnessed our fellow New Yorkers harassed, hurt or killed by schizophrenic, drug addicted individuals and harmed by predators. Yes, we should support Safe Haven but not at a location directly across from a school, This is child endangerment. Period. No one will Guarantee your child’s safety, and this will not end well. CB 7, In your heart of hearts you know this is not hyperbolic and yet a risk you are willing to take.
I am astonished at those who discuss this as a learning tool for “street smarts” or as a way to ” help kids deal with reality in NYC.” As a mental health provider for some forty plus years, there is a time and place for the teachable moment. I believe this is NOT THE TIME OR THE PLACE for such a moment. Our children missed so much as a result of COVID.. please…now this . Let’s all be reasonable and find a suitable location.
NBMCS……not by my child’s schoolyard
In faith, Gale does the right thing!
There is a small building with 4 million dollar condos per floor 50 feet away. What will be reaction of these people to 108 homeless newcomers?
There is clearly a need for a residence with mental health services, drug treatment and other wraparound services. This article mentions 40 plus staff for 108 individuals.
Curious what the long-term expectation is for people who have such significant needs?
Not truly realistic to think they will be sufficiently functional to live independently long-term
Well, I live right around the corner. So what I would say is Folks! Stop freaking out! That place has always been a shelter for the homeless. For I dk, how many years? And there was never an up cry and no serious problems. This one, the replacement, will be much better. With full time security, on-site mental health services and even classes in art and music and education. All kinds of support services. It’s been there for decades. No biggie. Just better.
We have homeless among us. Many of us feel for them. But don’t really want to put themselves out to help them. So everyone cries “the children, the children.” Most kids in this neighborhood are hovered over by their parents or other caretakers. The group running the facility seems to have a program to address the concern of having a large population of people in need. Nothing is perfect. But I fail to see how an organized approach to helping those in need is more threatening than having unfortunate people with mental disabilities roaming around without help, support and monitoring. I am older, do have a young grandchild living nearby and believe the concerns expressed are overblown if not hysterical. I for one would volunteer to help at the facility and help assure our neighbors that the situation, although not ideal, is one Upper Westsiders can handle in a caring and supportive manner.