URGENT: Please Attend Thurs. Meeting – City To Put 137 Homeless Vets on 95th St.
ANOTHER SHELTER? The City Human Resources Administration wants to place homeless veterans in a permanent housing facility at 330 W. 95th St. PLEASE ATTEND! LET THEM HEAR YOUR CONCERNS!!
More homeless in our neighborhood? It could happen in a matter of days!this Thursday night 17 December 2015 PS 75 Auditorium 8 PM It is important to show up
City officials want to hear your concerns. They also want to see how many people care as the City again turns to our corner of the Upper West Side to solve the City’s homeless problems – Fair Share be damned!
Our City Council Member Helen Rosenthal will be on hand to weigh in. A good turnout, even with the short notice the City has given, is very important.
Just what is the City going to do?
In meetings held the last few days, the City told Council Member Rosenthal and Borough President Gale Brewer, that they are “expanding” the contract of an existing facility in the Village to bring in homeless veterans into the units that once were an SRO, then a homeless shelter at 330 West 95th Street. The move-in of 137 veterans will be phased in, beginning in the next few days.
It is important to come to the meeting and listen to what the City proposes. No one wants to deny permanent housing to our veterans.
However, there continues to be a question of why the City is creating a facility, seemingly on the fly, circumventing the Comptroller’s office and the normal contract review process, which assures financial and programmatic accountability. The building is owned by a major contributor to Mayor DeBlasio’s campaign.
Other red flags can be raised about the efficacy of the City’s approach to homeless shelters and supportive housing. https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20151124/sunset-park/city-wont-let-homeless-group-with-poor-record-out-of-contract.
Head Are Rolling at City Hall – Who Can We Trust?
“Literally, this afternoon (Tuesday), while we were being debriefed by Council Member Rosenthal on her earlier meeting with the Human Resources Administration (HRA) about the program, HRA’s Commissioner Steven Banks was re-assigned to become the City’s Department of Homeless Services Commissioner,” reports Aaron Biller, president of Neighborhood In The Nineties Inc.
“The DHS Commissioner Gilbert Taylor was just sacked. Thus, many of the people who were making promises that the program at 330 West 95th Street would be run professionally, have now been shuffled by the Mayor to work on other problems. HRA is a humongous bureaucracy, rudderless without top leadership, and this diminishes their credibility with the community for 330 West 95th St,” he adds.
The program, as Ms. Rosenthal explains, will take a screened group of homeless veterans, selected for permanent housing and move them into a program run by Harlem United, which will manage the building, and another social services provider, Bailey House. The Council Member says she was promised that there would be no sex offenders in the program. (Again, the people making the assurances will now by working elsewhere).
The proposed veteran population will range in age from 40 to 70 years of age. Many will have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and what is termed “low mental health issues.” Ms. Rosenthal was told that the population comprises a group “that does not need on-site case management,” and will “have access to mental health services” from the providers in other neighborhoods.
The agreement on the table is supposed to protect the existing 57 SRO tenants who live there now. Twenty smaller SRO rooms will be converted into office space.
The deal promises 24-hour security in the building. However this may not help passersby and the school across the street.
The shelter rooms are being transformed instantly into permanent housing. It is not clear what, if any, capital improvements are being made, and what size the units will be. It is feared that mixing the populations could force out longtime SRO residents, a historical pattern often ignored by the City.
The proposal for 330 comes on the heels of a decision by the NYS Appellate Court to reject the N90s appeal of State Supreme Court decision which allowed the City’s Fair Share Analysis for the adjacent shelter at 316 (photo above) to be upheld. The Community has decided not to seek further review from the Court Of Appeals, due to the highly-politicized homeless crisis.
“We will just have to start holding our elected officials to their campaign promises. Often, we find electeds whose hearts are in the right places, but fail to recognize that hastily conceived programs fail the people they are supposed to serve, and ultimately hurt the community,” said Mr. Biller.
“We always see, in election years, politicians line up to spend a night in a NYCHA facility,” adds Mr. Biller. “But we don’t see them, going into the SROs where longtime residents have to deal with the conflicts of sharing common bathrooms with the homeless and multi-diagnosis people. Or deal with life in areas of the neighborhood where they allow facilities to be concentrated, undermining public safety and quality of life.”
Neighborhood In The Nineties requests that everyone who can attend the meeting Thursday at PS 75 at 8 PM, please make the effort. It’s short notice, but that is the City’s plan – to silence us.