Community Board 7 Chair Mel Wymore asks:
What HPD programs can be made available to preserve SRO’s as a resource for affordable housing aside from the work of the Supportive Housing Loan Program (SHLP), which as you know only targets tenants from city shelters and does not traditionally focus on preserving tenants in place in fully occupied buildings?
Answer: This question, placed in a recent Wymore letter to the City Dept. of Housing, Preservation and Development (HPD) reveals:
1. That in the view of the City, the SROs are now targets for City programs, like the St. Louis, an SHLP City program that says “affordable housing” but in reality means “special needs” housing
2. That it is common knowledge that the programs like the Lantern’s St. Louis evict existing poor tenants to make way for problem populations
We ask that you join us in respectfully raising our voices at:
Community Board 7 Monthly Meeting
Next Tuesday, 7th of June
At 6:30 PM
Jewish Home for The Aged Auditorium
120 West 106th St, btwn Amsterdam/Columbus
PLEASE HOLD THAT DATE
The future of our community is at stake.
It is time for our elected officials to drop the Orwellian doublespeak about using the tourist SROs for affordable housing.
The true intention of the Bloomberg Administration and City Council Member Gale Brewer for several years has been to eliminate the tourist hotels, and replace them with Homeless Facilities that will house problem populations. This is being done in the name of something called “affordable housing.”
And who could be against such an apple pie issue? But is that what it really is?
This is not the affordable housing our elected politicians and Mr. Wymore claim will house people who work in the CB7 UWS district and want to live here. This is housing that will include people who do not live here now, a citywide homeless pool, while existing SRO tenants will be forced out because they cannot co-exist with people who are “severely…persistently mentally ill” with a dual diagnosis involving drugs, alcohol and/or violence—and more than 40% have been incarcerated.
It’s called New York-New York III.
Prominent social workers who live in our neighborhood have warned us about this population and about the type of facility, while not called a shelter, constitute “mental health warehouses” where part-time services are provided for a population with 24/7 needs.
Without our speaking up, many of the SRO hotels you pass by daily in our beautiful neighborhood will become facilities. Even the existing SRO tenants will see their lives turned into living hells. We know because we have been in this type of building, have seen it happen, and the SRO tenants who support Neighborhood In The Nineties have written to us, and made pleas to us in the street to stand up against such warehouse facilities.
If we don’t act now, it will be too late. The safety of the neighborhood, our streets, parks and quality of life is at stake.
We realize that this is a long, drawn-out process. But we simply cannot allow ourselves the luxury of discouragement and apathy. To protect our neighborhood requires constant vigilance and persistent opposition to projects that can negatively impact the Upper West Side.
So please attend the June 7 meeting of Community Board 7.
We urge you to make the effort.
Attend and speak out against the St. Louis, and the host SRO hotels that could become similar “facility” projects in the neighborhood and in favor of the bills calling for a time out on the illegal hotel law.
For more information, please check out the Borough President’s report, which documents the 1,957 units of special needs housing in former SRO hotels, and the up to 3,500 additional units that Bloomberg and Brewer actively seek to drop on the district. Most of these are within a ¼ mile or already are in the Neighborhood In The Nineties area.
In other news…As a result of the Gale Brewer Open House last week, we will be meeting with Senator Adriano Espaillat later this week to discuss housing issues in the neighborhood.