The City has announced plans to open a new shelter at 306 West 94th Street. Neighbors agree that, given the existence of other shelters on the same block, this plan could tip the entire community in the wrong direction.
We ask everyone to show up and speak out at a PUBLIC HEARING
Thursday, October 18th,
22 Reade Streer, main floor Spector Hall
(btwn Bway & Lafayette. Take 2 or 3 to Chambers, walk east)
We applaud the City’s admission, after six terrible years, that Freedom House at 316 West 95th St. must close due to its disastrous management – in one 45-day period, there were 87 calls to 911, largely due to domestic violence.
But now the City proposes to more than double down on its mistake by creating an even larger shelter with the same population of “adult families” at 306 West 94th Street. The holdover population moving to 94th comprises people the City says aren’t ready to live on their own. Many have been in Freedom House for up to six years and have serious issues with mental health and drug abuse.
This recipe for failure does not bode well for the new shelter’s success and may inflict more pain on the neighborhood. And, it’s only a short time before the capacity-starved homeless bureaucracy seizes the vacated 95th Street building for another shelter.
The 300 block of West 94th Street is already home to the St. Louis AKA Rustin House and a Red Cross-run homeless shelter at 308 West 94th Street.
Residents of these two 94th Street buildings already are involved together in the drug trade and prostitution. Placing them on the same block with the hard-core element of Freedom House creates a proximity issue that not only negatively affects the neighborhood, but also the at-risk populations in the shelters. Introducing a third facility will create a spillover problem that impacts many neighboring blocks.
Neighborhood In The Nineties needs your help:
We must rid ourselves of Freedom House, and its poorly conceived successor.
You can help:
- Show up, and be prepared to speak up this Thursday, 10 AM at 22 Reade St
- Volunteer to help N90s’ response to the City’s proposal. We need to reach out to schools, institutions and neighbors to fight this proposal.
- Donate to N90s. Visit our website at www.N90s.org via PayPal.
- Make sure your building supports our N90s Security Patrol
- Contact us at: info@N90s.org
Nearly eight years ago, in January 2011, on the steps of The Alexander, City Council President Mark-Viverito, Borough President Stringer, Congressman Rangel, our City Council Member Brewer and State Senator Espaillat and the Chair of Community Board 7 Mel Wymore adamantly opposed turning The Alexander into a homeless shelter.
The issues in 2011 are the same as today’s: they all agreed that our neighborhood is doing more than its fair share in helping vulnerable populations, but simply can’t do more without degrading quality of life.
Then, as now, the use of an SRO building for a shelter, robs the housing stock of affordable housing, while creating a conflict with the remaining SRO tenants, some with small children who are being threatened and pressured to leave by owner Alexander Scharf. See www.N90s.org for the media coverage from January 2011.
A quick check of The Real Deal publication reveals that Mr. Scharf is selling his property (306-308 W. 94th) for $39 million, marked down from $46 million. Thus, the City’s choice of this property for a $35.7 million five-year renewable contract with Praxis Housing enriches Mr. Scharf. He also owns the Esplanade nursing home.
Neighbors researching Praxis will find that they are no better than Aguila, which the City fired from Freedom House. They have received scathing reviews of their AIDS residence in upper Manhattan. Employees have questioned the leadership’s qualifications, and there was a major issue with misapplication of funds.
If the City and Council Member Rosenthal want to find a provider that can run a facility in harmony with the neighborhood, they need look no further than Harlem United, which is the lead provider for the well-run 95th Street Veterans’ Residence.
Be ready to stand up for your neighborhood Thursday at 10 AM, 22 Reade St.
Let’s make the strongest stand possible, and leave a lasting impression with City officials: we will do what is necessary to ensure a safe community and break the cycle of the City coming back time after time to the same buildings/same blocks with complete disregard to Fair Share or our public safety.
Already In Our Backyard!:
The NYT article shows that Community Board 7 houses at least 1,000 more homeless than the district produces. But the West 90s and 100s bear a burden that other UWS blocks do not. Some NYC entire neighborhoods are shelter free.
Coverage of our last standoff, eight years ago, with The Alexander: