Downtown Alliance Statement On Proposed Shelter

Downtown Alliance Statement On Proposed Shelter

Over the course of our near 26-year history, the Alliance for Downtown New York has made it part of our mission to serve the homeless population in Lower Manhattan. We are proud of our work, with partners and providers, to successfully move hundreds and hundreds of homeless New Yorkers off our streets and into shelter and treatment.

This much we know from our experience: Homeless New Yorkers should not be used as political footballs. 

First and foremost, vulnerable populations need stability and services. Moving this population from the Lucerne on the Upper West Side to the Radisson downtown is incredibly disruptive to them and flies in the face of both of those needs. 

Borough President Gale Brewer and the Council Member from the Upper West Side, Helen Rosenthal, and many other homeless advocates have done the admirable and hard work of improving challenging conditions at the Lucerne. Both elected officials have expressed their disappointment and disapproval of this plan. In fact, the Borough President posted a statement calling on the mayor “to reverse his decision to move the 240 Project Renewal clients at the Lucerne to another hotel downtown, the third or fourth such move for many of the residents. The relocation is being done on a very accelerated basis and with no planning process for the new site.”

Furthermore, there are varying reports that there are already at least three and as many as 10 “temporary” homeless facilities within Community Board 1. Why the wide range? Because we don’t know the actual number. That is indicative of the secrecy and shifting nature surrounding the city’s current homeless policy. 

We deserve transparency, open dialogue and honesty. Project Renewal is a well-respected provider with an admirable record. But given the proximity to local schools and day-care facilities, is this site appropriate? What are the city’s plans to care for and treat these clients? What resources are being committed to this effort? If this is to be permanent, how is the city bypassing any regulatory approval process?