Homeless shelter in New York opens on Billionaire’s Row after years of unrest

A homeless shelter that opened in the heart of New York last week is creating tension among residents of the affluent Midtown Manhattan neighborhood.

The facility opened in the former Park Savoy Hotel and can accommodate 80 homeless men. It’s located one block from famed Carnegie Hall and next to the entrance to the first super-tall condominium building on “Billionaires’ Row” – a stretch named for its luxury high-rises and ultra-wealthy residents. The condos, Tower One57, are home to the city’s first $100 million apartment, purchased by Michael Dell in 2014.

Residents successfully blocked the shelter from opening for three years, saying it would be a safety hazard to the neighborhood, the The New York Post reported. According The nationa coalition of Billionaires’ Row residents paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to thwart the shelter, paying lobbyists and erecting billboards aimed at then-Mayor Bill de Blasio.

In May 2022, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that a hearing would not be required to assess safety and welfare standards, effectively ending the attempted blockade of the facility.

National homelessness rates have skyrocketed in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, up 2.2% from 2019 to an estimated 580,466 people who experienced overnight homelessness, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Development urban (HUD).

Low angle view of Carnegie Hall and skyscrapers

Low angle view of Carnegie Hall and skyscrapers

Philippe Intraligi/EyeEm/Getty Images

And while HUD reported that homelessness rates decreased by 8% in 2021, its findings showed progress primarily for families with children, while individual homelessness “remained relatively stable.”

“The discoveries of [the report] suggest that federal COVID-19 assistance has had positive effects on sheltered homelessness,” HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge said in a statement in February. “Yet we know that homelessness in America remains an urgent crisis. As long as the people of this country continue to lack affordable and safe housing, our work to put housing first is not done. »

In New York, the Midtown homeless shelter is just the latest in a string of controversies in the area. Animosity has escalated between residents and restaurateurs who kept outdoor seating open for the first time at the start of the pandemic.

The Osborne, a nearby co-op building on 57th Street across from Carnegie Hall, is currently pressuring its commercial tenants to stop sitting outside, citing frustration with nighttime noise, a reported the New York Post. The businesses are fighting back, saying they are operating within the city’s Open Streets program.

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