Shelter Lawsuit Briefs Filed In NYS Appellate Court

Shelter Lawsuit Briefs Filed In NYS Appellate Court:

N90s Challenges Freedom House Homeless Shelter; Brief Accuses City of Violating Fair Share Law

Following our successful action last year that resulted in cutting the size of the Freedom House shelter by 50% (200 less people), Neighborhood In The Nineties’ legal team, Tane Waterman & Wurtzel filed its briefs with the Appellate Division late this summer to continue our community’s fight to close the Freedom House shelter on West 95th Street. We expect to be arguing the appeal before the Appellate Division in the near future.

N90s President Aaron Biller explained that, “There’s a link between what we are experiencing on our streets and in our parks and City policies that over-saturate this neighborhood with facilities that serve the homeless, mentally-ill chemical abusers (MICAs), pedophile sex offenders, and recently released ex-cons…but provide zero services to help this troubled population”.

“Not only are there too many facilities, but the City’s failure to address the needs of the homeless and mentally ill have made the streets unsafe and reduce the overall quality of life for the residents of the neighborhood.” adds Mr. Biller.  “We have many facilities in the northern part of Community Board 7 that serve similar populations, but few that help people bootstrap themselves out of the system.

“If the City had done a real, City Charter-mandated Fair Share Analysis prior to choosing the location for Freedom House, it would realize that our backyard is filled with failing facilities that are wasting the lives of their patients or clients, while deteriorating the neighborhood’s condition” says Mr. Biller, adding that complaints to 311 about the homeless are up nearly 60% citywide. http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2015/08/14/homeless-complaints-way-up--311-stats-show.html The comparison is January 1st through August 9th this year over the same period last year.

“The City’s homeless policy is rudderless,” adds Mr. Biller. “They warehouse populations while disrupting selected communities like the Upper West Side above 85th Street. We need to encourage Mayor de Blasio to live up to his commitments, but without unfairly targeting our neighborhood.”

The latest legal arguments put forth by the N90s legal team contend that the City broke its own laws regarding Fair Share provisions:

  • Requiring a before-the-fact Fair Share Analysis of community facilities, as set forth in the City Charter and repeatedly upheld by State Supreme Court justices 
  • Requiring prior notification of affected communities when facilities are located  
  • Community input prior to selecting a location for a shelter 
  • Consideration of existing community facilities that serve homeless populations
  • Neighborhood in the Nineties wishes to thank the many contributors to our legal fund. 

As we begin our Fall appeal for contributions, please remember the importance of the lawsuit not only to fight this particular shelter but what may occur in the future. With our neighborhood’s large stock of SRO’s (single room occupancy hotels), we must realize that we can be targeted again for more facilities by city bureaucrats who do not follow their own laws and regulations.

The City has done a poor job of taking care of the homeless under the de Blasio Administration.  The City’s failures are most evident in the unsightly streets. A few elements of the homeless population act out on Broadway, and sleep at all hours in the Parks. It’s not just the Upper West Side. As noted above, Citywide, more than 20,000 311 complaints were made from January 1st to Aug. 9th – up 60% over 2014. This lawsuit helps a unified neighborhood send a message to City Hall: There are already too many facilities in our neighborhood. The lawsuit also provides assistance to our politicians who need our encouragement to follow the right path and support public safety and quality of life.

You can support the neighborhood’s lawsuit by visiting www.N90s.org and using PayPal to donate.
Checks may be sent to:

Neighborhood in the Nineties, Inc,
c/o: R.A. Cohen & Associates
Attn: Rina Krebs
60 E 42nd Street, Suite 850
New York, New York 10165

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