While the de Blasio Administration and Aguila negotiate a 9-year contract for a much smaller Freedom House, the NYPD raided the shelter seeking to curb a crime wave. How about closing the place?
Police Arrest 22 at 95th Street Shelter In Response To Increased Street Crime, Freedom House Raided Friday at 4 AM; 13 More Sought
The 24th Precinct, under new commander Marlon Larin, finally connected the dots between the 95th Street “Freedom House” shelter and the trail of broken glass on Riverside Drive and nearby streets from smash-and-grab auto robberies, building burglaries, increased drug dealing and crimes of opportunity in our neighborhood.
Responding to a surge in crime with felony auto thefts up May 17th Smash N Grab125% and burglaries up 82% in the precinct, the Police carried out background checks on shelter residents and found that 35 had outstanding arrest warrants. That’s nearly 10% of the 388 residents currently at the shelter. Some of those arrested have criminal histories for acts similar to the recent crime wave. In a raid early Friday morning, police arrested 22 residents, 12 of whom were released back to the City Department of Homeless Services (DHS). A story in DNAInfo reported details of the raid. It was unclear what will happen to the remaining 13 residents with outstanding warrants.
Recent crimes include an unprovoked “knockout game” style attack April 23d on an employee of Maxine Cleaners who was attempting to deliver dry cleaning on 95th Street across from the shelter. Police responded to six auto break-ins between May 7 and 14th between 100th and 104th Streets. On May 17th, N90s documented two break-ins on Riverside Drive near 93d Street. In addition, the morning of May 23d, police responded quickly to remove a pup tent erected in Joan of Arc Island.
In March, Neighborhood In The Nineties (N90s) participated in a meeting at the shelter with Aguila, the shelter operator, DHS, Council Member Helen Rosenthal, and representatives of other elected officials. At the meeting, N90s raised issues ranging from domestic violence among shelter residents, garbage hurling, noise, begging, burglaries and street crime related to increased drug dealing.
DHS claimed they were taking responsibility for what was happening inside the shelter and its impact but told those present that it could not do anything about crimes and quality of life issues outside of the building. When N90s presented DHS with several issues happening inside the shelter such as noise, months of uncollected trash in alleyways, a TV set hurled onto 95th Street and fighting, their answers were evasive.
Under an agreement negotiated by City Comptroller Scott Stringer and the de Blasio Administration, the shelter will be reduced from a maximum 400 residents to 200 by November 1st, 2014. The contract now being negotiated between Aguila and the City would still pay around $3700 per room per month. It is unknown whether the City is amending the contract to address serious concerns about Aguila’s history of overbilling and other problems, which two audits by the Comptroller’s office revealed.
The deal was reached after Judge Margaret Chan, failing to address the blatant misrepresentations in the City’s Fair Share analysis of the shelter placement, rejected a N90s lawsuit challenging the shelter. Neighborhood In The Nineties has filed an appeal with the NYS Appellate Division seeking to close the shelter.
Make Your Voice Heard! Please don’t sit by. Write an email. Make a call. Send a check to support the lawsuit.
The fight’s not over till Freedom House is closed and the City stops dumping problem facilities in the West 90s.
- State Senator Adriano Espaillat
District Office 212.544.0173
- State Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal (east of Broadway)
District Office: 212.873.6368
- State Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell (west of Broadway)
District Office: 212.866.3970
- City Council Member Helen Rosenthal
District Office: 212. 873.0282 x200
N90s needs your support! Please consider a donation to support our ongoing efforts to protect our neighborhood. Thank you!
Donations by check should be made payable to “Neighborhood in the Nineties, Inc” and sent to:
Neighborhood in the Nineties, Inc
c/o: R.A. Cohen & Associates
Attn: Rina Krebs
60 E 42nd Street, Suite 850
New York, New York 10165
Donations via PayPal:
We now accept PayPal donations. If you’re reading this on the N90s.org website, just click on the Donate button linked to PayPal.