What is happening to our neighborhood?

e-Newsletter Part II

N90s ReportsWhat Is Happening To Our Neighborhood?



A year ago, lawmakers passed a bill that was supposedly intended to preserve affordable housing by outlawing tourist hotels.  The result has been:


  •   An increase in the number of Upper West Side shelter projects (3 new projects planned for 94th and 95th streets – far more than our legally mandated fair share) and,
  • Tenants of SRO’s are being coerced to move involuntarily (see Part I of the newsletter) to make room for homeless and other shelters.



Let’s mark the anniversary by insisting that our public officials treat our neighborhood fairly and provide affordable housing at the same time.



Call and write Scott Stringer, Linda Rosenthal and Gale Brewer (see below) beforehand and ask them 

  • If it’s their policy that SRO tenants be forced to relocate elsewhere or live with populations that may threaten their physical safety and quality of life in their SRO buildings?
  • Why does our community get singled out for so many shelters—the area between 90th and 110thStreets particularly—the highest density of shelters run by three different City agencies and their private social service providers?
  • Where the resources needed to support such shelters are coming from—the already overcrowded psych ward at St. Luke’s Hospital, the 24th Precinct at 25% of its former staffing, or the overtaxed emergency responders?
  • Where the news release is announcing the colossal failure of their affordable housing policies.
  • What is their plan now to correct their mistake and ensure their vision of affordable housing and protect our wonderful neighborhood?


They will count the calls and emails, so everyone must make the effortCall or Write them ASAP.


N90s has stated repeatedly that these policies—outlawing tourists—would create an economic vacuum ensuring a return of using SROs as shelters that would eliminate, not preserve affordable housing for working New Yorkers.


We offered a solution—a hybrid model that would carve out budget tourist hotels if some revenue could be dedicated to creating real affordable housing.  Scott, Linda and Gale have refused to endorse these measures.



Ask them…

Demand answers.


From the Columbia Spectator, May 2011:

“…many single room occupancy buildings—better known as SROs—on the Upper West Side that have been converted into homeless shelters, a trend that lawmakers appear to have unintentionally encouraged after passing a law that bans SRO landlords from renting to tourists. Effective…spring (2011), the law—intended to preserve scarce space for affordable housing—has led landlords to search for tenants to make up for lost revenue, including DHS.”

(DHS is the City Department of Homeless Services)



The elected officials who campaigned full throated to clear the SROs of tourists—but won’t own up to their “mistake:”




More Background:


  • They claimed that the SRO tenants were harassed by backpacking budget-conscious Belgians and wanted them out.  The SRO tenants did not really mind the tourists.  But the Hotel Association of New York and Local 6, the Hotel union spent $$$ to lobby politicians at City Hall and Albany to rid the city of non-union, $99-a-night accommodations.


The Bloomberg Administration, having spent close to a decade unable to solve the homeless crisis, wanted to return the SROs to what they had been used for years ago—mental health warehouses that turn the streets into asylums, because it’s cheaper than providing appropriate care for vulnerable populations.  And West Side politicians are totally in the pocket of social services providers.


This neighborhood, given its concentration of SRO hotels is vulnerable, too, because a concentration of facilities compromises our safety and quality of life.


  • There are more than a dozen other SROs north of 86th Street that could also become shelters.  Past history indicates that this will cause widespread neighborhood destabilization.


  • Mixing special needs populations with existing SRO populations has proven disastrous before—violence, drug deals, robberies—so it is lunacy to revisit the failed policies of the past.  In the guise of helping SRO tenants and protecting “affordable housing,” West Side politicians hurt the people they say they were helping.


Our politicians have failed us miserably—Scott, Linda and Gale.  They advocated a policy that they were warned, by us, and many others, would result in a return to failed housing policies.  How could they be so ignorant to repeat history?


Did the campaign contributions of the hotel industry blind them? 


The Bloomberg Administration certainly knew that removing the tourists would give them an opening to turn SROs into shelters, not preserve affordable housing.


Why then did Linda Rosenthal rollover in Albany and allow the City to write the regulations that removed short-stay budget tourists? 


On behalf of your Neighborhood In The Nineties,

Aaron Biller


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