Neighborhood Rejects de Blasio Plans To Expand 95th St. Shelter From Hell

Two facilities on West 95th Street, Freedom House, a homeless shelter at 316 West, and the veterans residence at 330 West have issues for residents and for our neighborhood that require immediate City action. So far, De Blasio & Co. have been MIA!

West 95th Shelter

Neighborhood Rejects de Blasio Plans To Expand 95th St. Shelter From Hell

N90s has called out the City’s secret plans to expand the Freedom House Shelter at 316 West 95th Street. In a letter to City Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Neighborhood In The Nineties president Aaron Biller wrote:

“It has been brought to our attention that there is construction in the Freedom House shelter 316 West 95th. This could include making more rooms available on upper floors and the removal of the Aguila offices on the first floor, possibly to add rooms, to expand the shelter.

“The City administration agreed three years ago to reduce the size of the shelter to 200, in the face of the lawsuit by Neighborhood In The Nineties. The City Council itself had set that as the limit for shelters, with few exceptions.

“The present status of the shelter operation is unacceptable.

 “When community representatives convened for the CAB (Community Advisory Board, held Oct. 25th) at the Veterans’ Shelter next door, 330 West 95th Street, we heard complaints from Bailey House and Harlem United (the operators), the veterans now housed there, legacy SRO residents and community residents that the biggest problems in the neighborhood, indeed the biggest threat to the veterans at 330 was the drug dealing, noise, crime, loitering, panhandling and related mischief coming from (316 W.95) neighboring Freedom House.

 “Further, the notion of expansion is not only against the established limits, but it would be an act of insanity, given that the present management has a disastrous track record that warrants the removal of the operator, and if anything, a reduction in size.

 “Helen, we are aware that you have had, a priori, meetings with tenants and residents and school parents about the serious problems this shelter is causing in our neighborhood, so we know that you are well acquainted with the deteriorating situation at Freedom House. Remember that this property is directly across the street from a K-5, and middle school with 800 children (PS 75). 

 “We are requesting that you arrange, with great urgency, a meeting with HRA/DHS, and yourself, along with concerned residents and neighbors. 

 “We will not accept more people. 

 “We do not accept the state of terror that now exists for the legacy SRO tenants. The community asks that you take the administration to task. 

 “We need a firm plan from HRA/DHS to fix the shelter immediately. We should not have to sue the City and the current operator to compel competent management”.

In separate correspondence to the operators of the adjacent veterans’ shelter, DHS, HRA, Borough President Brewer and CM Rosenthal, Mr. Biller of N90s has demanded an investigation into serious allegations of drug dealing at 330 West 95th Street. One veteran expressed concern for his personal safety after being threatened by a dealer in the building.  

If this problem at 330 West is not addressed with the greatest urgency, N90s will escalate the issue to other elected public officials and the media. 

While building conditions improved after Freedom House vacated 330, (it remains at 316), it is wrong to give veterans housing that is more dangerous than the shelter they formerly lived in. 

The City’s Social Services Commissioner, Steven A. Banks (responsible for the Department of Homeless Services and the Human Resources Administration) has been in contact with CM Helen Rosenthal about this urgent situation. She has been trying to get the de Blasio Administration to the table for a meeting. 

This effort has dragged on for many months. Rosenthal has certainly expressed concern, and demanded changes, but the effort to date has yielded no tangible result. In the meanwhile, the situation in Freedom House (316) and to some extent, at the veterans’ residence is deteriorating.

It was Freedom House that attracted the violent criminal Jairo DeLeon to the neighborhood where he attacked the handyman of Pomander Walk (read about it HERE). The handyman has been unable to work since he was slashed in broad daylight near two doorman buildings on West 94th St., The Lyric and Stanton.

If you missed Friday’s NYT story about the de Blasio Adminstration’s miserable failed attempts at effective homeless policy, read about it HERE.

We ask that our neighbors help support efforts to clean up these facilities on 95th Street. Elected officials must be held accountable. Help our neighbors! Demand results!

 

Write or call:

Email: Council Member Helen Rosenthal, hrosenthal@council.nyc.gov

District office: 212.873.0282,  X200

Email: Borough President Gale Brewer, gab@pipeline.com

Main office: 212-669-8300/8191. Upper Manhattan: 212 531 1609.

 

Neighbors in the Neighborhood In The Nineties area, Riverside to Amsterdam Ave, 90th to 98th Streets, may sign up for the newsletter Write to info@N90s.org. Full name and valid address required.

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