By Carol Tannenhauser
The residents of West 83rd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues say they are still rattled a little more than three months after 74-year-old Maria Hernandez was murdered there. Hernandez died during a robbery in her apartment at 126 West 83rd Street.
Now, the city is planning to open a “safe haven” – a form of homeless shelter serving homeless people who refuse traditional shelter and live instead on the streets — just a few doors down from Hernandez’s home, at 106-108 West 83rd Street. The safe haven has sparked heated neighborhood discussion, both for and against the facility, and on Wednesday morning, a protest called to oppose it drew around 25 residents of West 83rd and nearby blocks.
“Those two buildings have always been nothing but a disaster,” said Maria Gonzalez, a lifelong resident of the block, who charged that the address was associated with drugs and violence.
Cynthia Tibbs, president of West Side Urban Renewal (WSUR) Brownstones, a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) complex of several dozen buildings between West 89th and West 93rd Streets, and a lifelong resident of the neighborhood, said she recalled when the buildings now designated for the safe haven were single-room-occupancy (SRO) housing. That was in the 1970s, and “there were stabbings in here, shootings in here. We had to live with that,” said Tibbs. In the 1990s, the city turned the address into a men’s shelter. Tibbs noted that the shelter was closed some time after a murder occurred there in 2019. “Well, here we go again, backwards to the 70s!” she said.
Both speakers pointed to the elementary school, P.S. 9, across the street, calling it a major reason for siting the facility elsewhere. Tibbs claimed there were “fifth graders at the windows hollering, ‘No safe haven!’ while this is going on. They don’t want it here. They were just starting to gain their independence. Clearly, we’re going to have to start picking up our kids again.”
Wednesday’s protest was organized by Maria Danzilo, an attorney and community activist, who ran unsuccessfully for the State Senate against Brad Hoylman-Sigal in 2022. Danzilo lives on West 83rd Street and Central Park West. As an alternative to the safe haven — which she repeatedly called “an unsafe haven” — Danzilo said the city should open low-income housing named after Maria Hernandez.
Danzilo said opponents of the safe haven have safety concerns, but are being unfairly criticized as lacking compassion for the homeless. “No one in the city should be lecturing Upper West Siders about compassion,” she said. “We have compassion…and we have safety concerns. And we have a right to speak about our safety concerns. We want affordable housing. That’s what we’re standing here for today.” Danzilo said the city’s plans for the safe haven had been “done improperly and not transparently. Where was [City Council Member] Gale Brewer?” Danzilo demanded. “Where is Gale Brewer?
“Yeah! Where’s Gale? Where’s Gale?” the crowded chanted.
Asked if she believed opponents could stop the city from opening the safe haven next month, Danzilo said: “We’re trying. The mayor can stop it. We have reached out to him. They have not given us a meeting. We need Gale to intervene.”
Wednesday’s protest echoed some of the dissension that arose around The Lucerne in 2020, when the hotel was used by the city to shelter homeless men during the pandemic. Before the protest, someone had used pastel chalk to write words of welcome (to future residents) on the sidewalk in front of the safe haven addresses. Twenty homeless people are expected to move in at the end of April. The final number, according to the city, will be 108.
Some area residents who gathered to watch the protest spoke in favor of the facility. “This is a classic situation of wealthy people expressing and using that ‘not in my backyard’ doctrine to kind of pick and choose when they get to be liberal,” said Greg Cefalu, a resident of 104 West 83rd. “We need to help people and give them a chance to rehabilitate, to be better. If we just continuously close down and go against shelters being put up with no replacement, with no alternative, the problem is only going to get worse.”
Additional reporting by Daniel Katzive.
The people living on the street in this neighborhood, have been offered shelter many, many times, but have refused it. How will this be any different. They just want to be left alone.
This solution employees a lot of people for the provider and is a way to direct funding to the provider. Its not really abt housing local homeless. They will do whatever they can to fill beds so they can bill.
I’m with Maria here. And yes, where was Gale?
Housing mentally ill across the street from a primary school is pure madness.
It shows how brazen and callous some organizations are, they stop at nothing to make their big bucks.
The most insulting thing is that they do under the pretence of compassion and gaslight you should you voice a slightest concern.
Thank you, Maria! Gale, where are you?
Low barrier means no vetting. A dangerous policy near schools. How about safe haven for our kids? Also this was done under secrecy and complete lack of transparency. How is this democracy?
The opposition to the shelter has to do with the location and the lack of transparency. Those against the safe haven, presented a really great alternative. Why isn’t this being explored? This isn’t about getting our neighborhood homeless off of our street. This is about importing people to fill this SH to capacity. 108 beds?
Seems to me that the community board has forgotten what the word community actually means.
Unfair to invoke the horrible murder of Ms Hernandez, which was perpetrated by someone who used to work in her building and was known to her. To use her death as a signal of danger in the neighborhood is lazy. And disrespectful. If you have real concerns, share them, otherwise this is NIMBY-ism at its finest.
Wasn’t Ms Hernandez murdered by someone who was compassionately released from jail and given a state-encouraged position in her building? Not an acquaintance or friend, but someone forced upon her in the name of compassion with disregard to her safety. . . . The parallels are very apt.
“Wednesday’s protest was organized by Maria Danzilo.”
A reminder – the loudest voices in the room aren’t always the most representative ones.
Housing for all.
This is an important point. According to Ballotpedia, Maria Danzilo ran for City Council in 2021, getting just 15% of the vote, while Gale Brewer got 53.8%. In this race, she was the only “law and order” candidate, so her vote was likely not split among other candidates.
In the State Senate primary, she got only 26.9% of the vote, while Brad Hoylman got 72.7%, and in the general election, she got a mere 5.1% of the vote vs. Hoylman’s 93.3%. https://ballotpedia.org/Maria_Danzilo
While she has some following of voters, people to show up at rallies, and people to write online comments, based on elections she appears to represent a minority of the otherwise tolerant, welcoming, progressive Upper West Side. Yet she succeeds in getting disproportionate attention compared to the amount of support she gets in the polling booth.
Looks like the 5% of people who voted for Maria Danzilo are in this comment section…lol
Can’t argue with your numbers, but I would consider the exceptionally low voter turnout before concluding too much about disproportionate attention or representing a minority .
The UWS has one of the highest voter turnout rates in the city. Homeless shelters will not break the camels back politically for the “establishment” Dems, a rezoning like the one in SoHo will.
But the over-saturation of the amount of shelters will break your local small businesses that people say they care about. Unfortunately, shelters do come with many problems that cause local businesses disruption and interference every day. We already have loudly supported shelters and supportive housing for years and years. We still do but need to fix the shelters we have here now before putting 3 on one block, like Gale Brewer loudly and happily already added a 3rd shelter to West 97th street.
Fix the broken shelters already here and then we can be ready for more.
Hilarious . The people making an absurd profit from this is an example of privilege at its finest . Not to mention corruption and negligence . I know it’s rare for you to come across people who really want the best for their community but they are out there. Danzilo is one of them
A quick google search shows that Greg Cefalu who claims to live at 104 West 83rd Street says he lives in Brooklyn. I am so tired of Brooklynites posing as UWSers.
There must be a reason for his comment — maybe he works for the company doing the housing. I wouldn’t say anyone who lives there is “rich” at all. He’s ludicrous is=f he looks at that block and say “rich.”
This happened with the Lucerne also. Most of the open hearts protesters claimed to be UWSers but some were from as far as Connecticut!
I’m assuming that Greg, who spoke in favor of the facility in the article, is a man. The photo of those with safety concerns appear to be many women.
As an older woman here, I applaud them making their concerns known and hope that they’re taken seriously.
I don’t think there is a perfect solution here – we need to house people on the street, especially those who can barely help themselves, but at the same time there are legitimate safety concerns. I wonder if one answer would be to post two NYPD officers on the block (or blocks surrounding it) to walk the beat.
There are not 108 homeless people on the streets on the surrounding blocks of 83rd Street so they will be bringing homeless into the neighborhood when one argument they are making is homeless want to be sheltered in their neighborhood. What bunk.
The number of us who oppose yet another UWS shelter is larger than those at the “protest.” Time has shown that those running these places reap the largest benefits of the “business .” The large, complex situations associated with so many unsheltered. persons are rarely resolved. Fresh thinking is needed. Entrenched, highly paid bureaucrats are not “getting stuff done.”,
There are many liberals on the UWS who are concerned about crime but don’t want to be labeled. They’ll support a candidate like Katherine Garcia who is against defunding the NYPD but does it in a way that doesn’t offend liberal sensibilities.
And it is entirely possible, maybe even probable, that the number of people who support it is larger than the number of those who showed up for the protest and those who didn’t put together.
The truth is that no community wants homeless shelters. I’d say most UWS residents are concerned about crime but won’t say so openly, but they’ll certainly tell their real estate broker that they don’t want to live on the ground floor because of crime or that they’ve left Harlem or Washington Heights for the UWS because of crime.
This is bar fight between NIMBY, virtue signaling, and a one party system
Maria Danzilo is an amazing and courageous community activist and I wish she would hold elective office.
Unfortunately, she’s fighting a losing battle as our “progressive” leaders like Gale Brewer and her rubber stamp CB7 and professional homeless advocates are intent on destroying the UWS and they hold all the power.
Maria Danzilo can’t win on the UWS unless she’s running head to head with someone such as Sara Lind with no other serious opposition.
What concerns me is that so many people in our neighborhood are not yet aware of this decision to house a large number of homeless people on West 83rd Street, If I had known about the protest, I would have been there myself.
As a parent of two young children in UWS public schools, it is painful when my kids see a person sleeping on the sidewalk or begging for change and ask me why that person doesn’t have a home and why they aren’t getting help. I can’t wait to be able to say, “there is a place in our neighborhood where people who need help can get it.” A lot of the same people protesting about the safe haven would probably also be protesting against affordable housing (despite what they’re saying today).
Not true at all. We do not want people with serious issues across the street from a school. It is very simple. I don’t understand why all of the virtue-signaling bleeding hearts feel so strongly in favor of this. Can’t you do your good deeds somewhere else?
How about we turn this into affordable housing for the underpaid teachers at PS9, many of whom have a long commute in from other boroughs because they can’t afford to live here? And for the police officers on the next block. And those who work in the post office on this block. And some bodega workers. Or even vetted homeless people who are truly trying to get back on their feet and get a job and do not have serious mental health issues that could threaten the children across the street. Why give prime real estate across the street from a school to those with serious challenges? So the woke can feel good about themselves?
You’d have even more people protesting against a rezoning of the UWS. Look at what happened in SoHo.
How would your children feel if they witness people shooting drugs, making obscene gestures and worse right across the street from their school? I surely don’t want it for my children. They have difficulty navigating 10 blocks to school as it is. As a matter of fact we are relieved when they are sleeping as opposed to behaving aggressively.
Setting aside the outrageous presumptions you make here about the people who will be living there, are you talking about the same children who probably see all of that somewhere in the neighborhood anyway?
Outrageous presumptions, eh? So you can absolutely, positively guarantee to us that none of these things will ever ever happen?
The probability of randomly seeing something inappropriate around the broader neighborhood is dramatically lower than the cumulative probability of seeing it daily when that “vulnerable population” is clustered 24/7 across from a school.
Math is your friend.
Wanting a safe, clean neighborhood isn’t NIMBY-ism. Remember the neighborhood just a year and a half ago? Too many people on this thread are still in denial. The concerns are justified. Accept reality and move on.
Yes, I remember the neighborhood 18 months ago. E-bikes were much worse. Now most, not all, of the drivers can manage to use lights at night.
The packs of dirt bikes and quads are still a problem the City hasn’t really addressed. But don’t see what that has to do with this proposed residence.
More “convenience” stores now than 18 months ago too. More shootings in same.
The reality is when rents on the UWS dropped in 2020, many from upper Manhattan and Brooklyn flooded the UWS despite the Lucerne being there.
Just out of curiosity, would everyone object to this housing if it only included the homeless men who are already sleeping on the sidewalks in the immediate neighborhood? I’ve seen at least 3 of them sitting in front of delis shirtless and covered in bites, eating whatever people leave for them. For some odd reason it’s usually hard boiled eggs and Clementines (I have no idea why) and huge containers of rice. It’s hard to believe that they wouldn’t accept some kind of shelter and 3 meals a day.
Clementines are good to give out because they are small enough to carry around, healthy, they taste good and they have their own natural container. Hard boiled eggs are good because they are easy-ish for people who have dental issues to eat, and they are also in their own natural container. Rice is popular because it is somewhat inexpensive, and makes people feel full.
The city shelters do not let residents stay during the day. And there are soap kitchens in the city, but their hours vary and it isn’t so easy for people to find them, or get to them.
Safe havens give people who live there some stability, which is what everyone needs in order to get their lives back on track.
Thank you so much for the feedback Elizabeth! I’ve often wondered about those particular foods and I’ve tried getting them things that (I thought) were a little more substantial, but I never took dental issues into account. I hope that these men will finally get the opportunity to be part of a safe haven.
Those men are free to go to any shelter for three meals a day and a cot. There are countless shelters in the city. They’re not interested.
They are not interested because the shelters are more dangerous than the streets. You might want to learn a bit before you make comments based on…nothing.
Then fix the shelters, don’t keep commissioning more of them.
Exactly. Fix what we have and get other neighborhoods pull their weight instead of adding 100 more from other neighborhoods.
The men I’m referring to have lived in the neighborhood for 20-30 years, long before I arrived, which has been pointed out to me more than once. Obviously they’re used to being in this area, Broadway/Amsterdam from 68th to 86th. No matter where I go, they’ve always been there. My point being, if they’re so dangerous then why haven’t parents complained about them being a threat to their children until now?
*I meant to add, they don’t seem physically well enough to get on public transportation even if they wanted to leave.
Will be interesting if they are the ones who actually fill the beds or if the shelter for 108 brings in new street vagrancy to Columbus Shelters housing drug users tend to attract an infrastructure who benefit from being around drug users. We saw that with the Lucerne. And all this with a school playground right across the street. Should be exciting to watch.
They aren’t right in front of the school that’s why.
That makes no sense. The shelter has always been across the street from the school. Why haven’t the parents complained until now, when a safe haven has been proposed?
The other shelter was a different type. They supposedly had rules. Still there was a murder and the big drug bust. This one has no rules. It could also be a single parent shelter and I suspect that would be viewed differently.
I am not sure who is feeding you this myth that there are no rules. There are plenty of rules. Given this shelter will offer wrap around services and a security guard, there will me MORE eyes on residents than the previous set up. People will also have their own room to keep their things in, so less need to cart all your belongings with you when you leave your room. In addition, the shelter will have floors for woman as well as men so the culture of the shelter will be very different from the survival of the fittest mentality that was in the previous shelter there.
We will never have 100% housed. No society in history has housed 100% of its population, but we can do better than this medieval Europe tack we are taking of every person for themselves and normalizing stepping over bodies and belongings. If this gets even 30% of our current population off the streets it is a win. My guess is it will remove even more, but heck, every person getting off the street and not being spit back out on it every morning is a win in my book.
Why don’t you listen to the parents concerns? They are not valid to you?
Shelters don’t work that way. People who stay in shelters at night are not allowed to stay there during the day. Unless someone is in a special program, like a safe haven, they don’t have somewhere to go to get three meals a day.
Not only that, but people who need shelter don’t always get a spot every night. The shelters are full, busy, and some are downright scary.
The system is not nearly as easy to use are your comment portrays.
This is completely bonkers. “Safe haven” with NO barriers to entry and no limit on length of stay, run by the very lucrative and very unaccountable Breaking Ground, across the street from a school, down the block from where a woman was brutally murdered by someone given a “second chance.” The UWS is utterly full of shelters like these, which have housed sex offenders who have committed offenses while sheltered (W 95th and RSD), and which is across the street from a school (PS75), and which have seen terrible violence/murders (W 97 and RSD). These places are completely disordered and lack meaningful oversight. And when something happens, the community doesn’t know about it. When are people going to wake up? Especially women? What do we tell the UWS woman recently raped by a guy sheltered on the UES who the Bronx DA failed to prosecute timely for another sexual offense, and who was therefore allowed to live in our neighborhoods, on our dime? Or the elderly woman beaten unrecognizable with a brick while walking her dog in the morning on the UWS by a man in a local shelter (c. a year ago)? Enough with the craziness of all this! Thank god for people like Maria Danzilo who refuses to be bullied by progressive ideologues. I, of one, am done.
Kudos to Maria Danzilo. Of course, Brewer was MIA.
I have previously commented on this forum about the differentiation in the homeless vs. schizophrenogenic population. And, the safety issues that must undergird treatment of the seriously ill who are drug addicted.That is not to say, that such conditions are always distinct. They often coexist.
But? I have moved on from that dangerous paradigm of retrieving numbers of individuals outside our catchment area. Vans will swing by to scoop up non-vetted individuals off the street. However, I have a NEW emerging concern. Yes. Call me a fear monger. Don’t care. The fact that Rikers jail will be phasing out their prison population to new four prisons (to be built) as well as releasing folks (earlier…. due to all the new sentencing laws by DA’s office and present overcrowding) it seems to me, the 83rd St. housing space will be a prime dumping station for anyone and everyone. I want to know WHO will be supervising this project? Is the city HHS management going to be “numbers” obsessed to keep the place open? If so, will they place the newly released into the program? Seems to me, they will. For those of you familiar with recidivism rates, you know what is possible. And, I am all for giving someone a second chance in life post serving their time in jail, we see this with the Doe fund participants. I appreciate and respect their hard work and service. Just hope we are not going to have the smash and grab thugs and convicted rapists living on the block. Yes. NIMBY. Send me the illegal immigrants and their children who want to work and create a new life. I will spear-head the Welcome Committee. Not interested in being a hotel service for individuals who need systemic support viz an array of psycho-socio-medico treatment. JMO.
Danzilo is a hero! Brava.
The City wouldn’t DARE put a so-called “Safe Haven” in a residential neighbourhood on the Upper East Side! And what makes it a “Safe Haven”, when it’s filled with criminals, drug addicts, and emotionally deranged people who reject proper housing for them?
Actually, there are plans to open a safe haven at 419 E. 91st Street.
There’s NYCHA housing on the Upper East Side in the Yorkville area. Also rental prices on the Upper East Side east of Lexington are typically $100-$400 cheaper than the UWS.
That plan fell through
I recall reading the neighborhood put restrictions where the provider pulled out. I guess it wasnt going to be as profitable as they had hoped?
Very telling that the person lecturing other people about shutting up and accepting 108 new, possibly violent, certainly unwell strangers on W 83rd is a man — and the protest is largely made up of women, the group who will bear the brunt of any danger and degradation this shelter brings about.
Not really. Female here. And Just appreciating Elizabeth’s calm and informed responses to a couple of incorrect posts. (Aso Caly’s, tho name is gender neutral.)A “safe haven” is a great idea in any neighborhood. Much better – and different- than a shelter. (Yes I raised a kid in the city who went to a public elementary school.) And I think the plan is to start with a couple dozen people in April. Why not try to be welcoming. There are many tough things going on in the city still, and there may be hard years ahead. But this is not one of the bad things. (And we we remain pretty far from the 70s, despite the perpetual cry that we have returned there.)
Well said. That same gender dynamic is consistent with comment sections as well. Notice how nearly all of the people saying how safe they feel around the homeless have male usernames.
I too am opposed to the safe haven. We moved to the UWS just a year ago. I am appalled at the decline in this area. I walk by the supportive housing on Broadway and am barraged with people begging, using foul language, loud music in the summer. I have sent complaints to the mayor and filed complaints with Gale Brewers office on various issues. No response. I want to be able to live without fear so it’s NIMBY. I see deadbeats every day.
Loud music in the summer? Do you know what city you moved to? NYC a’int a gated community.
What is the long-term plan here? These 108 people just living here indefinitely? Wouldn’t it be more logical to house them somewhere where they can actually put down roots and afford daily life?
I think all of us would be a bit more accepting of them if they contributed back to the neighborhood. They are getting free housing, food, etc. Though some are trying to get jobs, many of them just hang out all day. There are plenty of low skill jobs that need to be done – clean the park, pick up trash, etc. This would be a nice way to repay society for the free benefits they are getting.
Being able to marginally contribute to society should be a fair tradeoff for living across the street from a school – if you are not mentally capable of doing that, you likely are not mentally capable of determining right from wrong and should be kept far away from children.
I cannot understand why homeless families with children are still being moved from place to place when this building is available. The school being right across the street seems to be ideal.
All of these NIMBY comments seem remarkably uninformed.
– Breaking Ground, which will run the facility Safe Haven on W 83 St , is an award winning organization with a successful track record of well-organized supportive housing facilities. They choose, vet, and monitor residents carefully.
– Providing humane housing with comprehensive services costs NYC less than half the per person cost for emergency and crisis care services for homeless people who remain on the streets.
– I have spoken with some of the UWS homeless, who do not want to remain on the streets but do not wish to be shipped to the Bronx or Staten Island to sleep in large dangerous shelters for a night, only to be dumped again on the street.
– The same people arguing against Safe Haven have argued against all housing for the homeless and at the same time complain loudly about homeless on the streets. I have yet to hear a solution other than remove them from sight.
– The UWS is not “saturated” with homeless facilities. It used to have affordable residences (SROs) with few services, but even these were replaced with luxury housing. It now has a few scattered residences that are not nearly enough to meet the demand.
– Since 2000, NYC has added more than 600,000 jobs but fewer than 400,000 new housing units, the vast majority unaffordable for any but the already wealthy. At the same time, the adult population has increased by 11%.
– This plan has not been foisted on UWSers but has been discussed repeatedly at length with all the relevant organizations, including businesses, schools, police, officials, and the community board.
If we do not find solutions to the housing crisis, including truly affordable units and housing for the homeless, NYC cannot thrive and prosper. We cannot have safe streets with people lying on sidewalks. People who are given help very often find a way back to a stable life. 98% of Breaking Ground clients remain housed after one year.
I urge all the people jumping to conclusions about risk and threat to think about whether they feel safer when homeless people have permanent shelter with a clean bed, shower, food, and a full roster of services or when they are sleeping on cardboard begging for soup.
Every community must do its part to solve this intractable problem.
How do you know they are a capable provider? You cite lots of facts. Do you work for the organization? Our city does not have the best track record selecting or auditing providers? What metrics are used to make them award winning? Who are they being compared to?
I have no affiliation with or connection to Breaking Ground whatever. I simply did a search about them and found information so I could become informed about the issue. I suggest you do the same.
Go to the website I included.
You look to. their website for reviews of their performance? What do you expect to find?
Staten Island must do its fair share too. Staten Island is the ONLY borough not to get borough based jails under the close rikers plan because former SI Boro President James Oddo is friends with Bill DeBlasio. Every time a shelter is proposed, they fight it. When migrants wanted food and a local restaurant served food to them, SI residents would boycott the restaurant despite the owners being conservatives themselves but having a heart. SI residents oppose mosques being built despite the Muslim organization having no ties to 9/11 or terrorism, just that they don’t want Muslims living there. If anything it is the Staten Islanders that deserve to do their fair share and learn to be tolerant.
Staten Island doesn’t hold itself up has some sort of progressive utopia that cares. The upper west side does. These shelters should go there. And in LIC and Astoria. Tiffany Caban and Mike Gianaris territory. No place else
You put homeless shelters there the white Staten Islanders will just move to NJ. Less GOP voters in NYC.
Nothing but a sales pitch
Maria Danzillo is a thoughtful, compassionate and wise leader. She is doing what Gale Brewer and Community Board 7 should have done. Stand up to mayor and other city officials, insure they provide our community residents opportuniy in the decision making process, explore reasoned positions and find compromise that can support individuals in need, while building, rather than destroying, this neighborhood.
I am a huge fan of Maria’s. It makes me very sad that there seem to be more people here commenting in her favor than the number of people who actually voted for her. Her campaign could have used more funding and structure, but turnout would have also helped. Unfortunately, people are lazy and vote for the name they have heard of rather than taking 30 seconds to do some research.
Probably not going to publish this but I’ll try anyway. Elections have consequences. The people of the ipper west side vote overwhelmingly for progressives who love this type of thing. I like Maria Danzilo. But the fact is that she lost her election. Which means that the people are in favor of more homeless shelters in the neighborhood.
I firmly believe that many people have no idea what the city council person is doing and what kinds of decisions are being made. It is only thy engaged activists that have voted and only now do I hope that people are “getting it”. Maria Danzillo is THANKFULLY becoming known and Gale Brewer is being known for allowing shelter after shelter after shelter coming in to our already saturated area. There is no accountability for these shelters and yet some of the homeless “non-profit” foundation leaders are making $300,000 – $400,000/year.
It may take time but I am hopeful that people will finally pay attention to what these elected officials are doing to this neighborhood and take 10 minutes to VOTE – EVERY TIME.
The Upper West Side has been more than generous in housing homeless individuals, people with psych issues, homeless families and helping people who have left prison with housing. I am sorry, I don’t think there is another area in all of NY that has the amount of SRO’s and Specialized Housing as the UWS. So give us a break. I know of residences that are staffed that monitor their tenants and some are decent, but unless there is staff and accountability I am no longer interested in increasing housing for this population.
Here is the distribution of NYC homeless facilities as of 2022:
The UWS is not “generous.” And there are very few SROs anywhere. But here is a call to bring back well-designed independent living and supportive units to ease the homeless crisis/housing shortage:
Seemingly that’s not true….
Do you have data from 2023? So much has changed since 2019. Covid didn’t even happen yet!
“take it and like it” Bogart in The Maltese Falson.
As I write this, there is a large homeless man on 81st yelling at tourists walking by. As a clinician at one of NYC’s most significant hospitals, I can tell you this man is unwell and erratic. I feel terrible for him, not only because of his condition but because he is too ill to know he is unwell. Unfortunately, many of those who will find themselves in this proposed shelter will be the same. Psychosis involves a waxing and waning sensorium – One moment the individual will be alert and lucid, and the next, they will be disorganized and erratic. Such a shelter does not belong in this location.
I am hoping someone can answer this question. Under Megan’s Law, sex offenders are required to register with the State after conviction, or if they serve time in prison, upon their release, and notify the registry when they relocate. Sex offenders who move to New York from another state also must register.
This is obviously homeless or not homeless.
How does this work with a safe haven? Are those who reside at this location expected to be long term and register? I don’t understand how the housing works and wondered about this given proximity to the schools on West 83rd. I’d have the same question regarding a person subletting and wondered…thanks in advance
Why would the law be any different for someone living in a safe haven? If you’re worried about a sex offender living in a sublet in your building then it only proves the point that they could be anyone/anywhere. Not just random homeless men swept off the street into a van and placed in a safe haven to intentionally rattle every parent with a child in the school across the street.
“If an individual is under parole or probation supervision, state law may limit them from living within 1,000 feet of a school or other facility caring for children.”
I wonder why they dont try to do this on 5th ave hmmmm
So encouraging to read so many well informed and common- sense comments.
Having lived in the 80’s for 42 years, and having raised my three children in the neighborhood, I have many friends and neighbors who live right near this proposed site, or who have a small business nearby. When people started to become aware that this shelter was slated to open in just a few weeks, there was widespread concern. The fact our own Community Board 7 was trying to keep it under wraps, made people feel even more alarmed . Gale Brewer’s long weekly email blasts and newsletter, failed to mention a single word about this shelter or the CB meetings where this would be discussed. The CB meeting when this was announced also caused concern as people were not allowed to speak.
After residents started talking with each other and finally had a chance to express their concerns regarding decades of chaos and problems on the block, including trauma from several high profile crimes, it became clear that another shelter in this location would be very problematic, and what this block really needs is affordable family housing in those buildings. This will do so much to finally stabilize the block, giving the many rent stabilized tenants of West 83rd and surrounding areas the stability they deserve, while housing families right across the street from a well -regarded public school.
Residents and small business owners have now collected hundreds of signatures from people in the area who are opposed to this unsafe shelter, and want to see the buildings used for family affordable housing and a day care center, to replace the one that closed recently.
As many of you may know, our neighbor Maria Hernandez was savagely assaulted and murdered in January, 2023 at a building right down the street. The neighborhood would love to name the family affordable housing and day care center after Maria Hernandez, to honor her memory .We hope the landlord of the building where she was murdered, St Matthew and St Timothy’s Church, will support the community’s goal of building this affordable family housing and day care center instead of this transient shelter. It will go a long way to repairing the damage from the last few years (and many would argue decades of blight).
As for this model of shelter, it can work if very small and located closer to where people are actually sleeping on the street. That is not the model proposed for this site., however, which is turning into a bit of a bait and switch. This is a large shelter, 108 beds, with no screening for past criminal history, no curfews and no ” good neighbor” policies, work requirements or other features that make large shelters work in very dense areas. Its location across the street from a playground should have been a non-starter.
Nevertheless, there are people who support this model on West 83rd. I wonder about the motives, though. I have yet to meet anyone who supports this W 83 location who knows and understands the particular challenges and instability this residential block has endured for a very long time. We are all compassionate and caring people who all want solutions to homelessness, but I wonder who the real NIMBYS are here. It’s so much easier to push the problems to a blighted block, especially when the residents have had such a diminished voice for so long.
On that point, I have talked to many residents on the block who are still afraid to speak out because they are living in rent stabilized apartments and believe their landlord might retaliate. They are also concerned that the politically extreme climate might put them at personal risk if they speak up. It’s very upsetting that this is the world we are living in and I for one plan to keep speaking my mind.
We are hoping that a way forward can be found that will stabilize this area and help to alleviate the affordable housing crisis by converting this project to family affordable housing and day care center. As for a suitable location for a Safe Haven I would love to see one of the Churches step up to support a 10-15 person safe haven type shelter. Maybe Reverend Karpin’s congregation?
Who is supposed to build and maintain this “affordable housing and day care center” you’re talking about? Since you have already volunteered the services of a church — by the way, that congregation has done outreach for the asylum-seekers who were bused here, a group that was also unwelcome to many of the commenters on this site — perhaps you could also tell us which developer’s money you are volunteering?
I love the way you describe that part of the neighborhood as “blighted,” by the way. I’m looking right now at apartments a few doors over from the Safe Haven that are listed for sale, and the cheapest is more than $4 million. Many other apartments in that area are similarly valued. If we’re questioning motives here…
Maybe we can start by lowering the salary of those making upwards of $400,000
a year for their “charitable” work.
And you could open the church doors for the disenfranchised to seek shelter on a cold night ?
That’s what Jesus would do .
Do you realize that there are a number of law firms in the city that pay $300-$400k salaries to their junior lawyers? Not partners—associates. Please stop acting like these Breaking Ground execs are pulling in outrageous Rockefeller money.
You are A very funny guy, I am sure the people who have the $4 million apartments are so happy & it will be much easier to sell & only go up in value once this shelter opens right? You must live on this block & maybe have young children going to the school across the street.
So is that what this is about? Protecting property values instead of people?
Protecting most vulnerable people – children. Against the criminal greed of service providers.
Yes, Maria! Affordable housing for families!
“there are small cities in western and northern New York State that are losing population. Wise planning could encourage
revitalizing these very livable and affordable
places” for our homeless population in NYC.
It makes no sense to put these sick people in
the midst of our upscale UWS
But will the service providers want to move to those small towns? Part of the financial model of Homelessness Inc is all the jobs it generates for the businesses needed to provide support services. Many of these ppl can never work or will never work because then they lose services. Why are they then housed for free in a very expensive city?
People move for jobs. If providers want to make money, they will move and find personnel.
Hello Maria – geez – it’s been decades. Nice to know you are happy and healthy – red is a good color for you – always was. I remember you. You stood up to my sister. That took bravery.