Since the influx of new homeless residents at UWS hotels, several petitions along with a GoFundMe campaign have been launched, though they differ in their goals and sentiments. Here is an overview of what’s been formed, in addition to an update on the level of support each has collected.
Homeless Lucerne Residents will be Relocated
The recently formed West Side Community Organization has set up a GoFundMe campaign which has, as of writing, raised over $105,000, exceeding its initial goal of $100,000. The campaign states that the group is “an unpaid, volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization” which is “committed to preserving the qualities that make the Upper West Side a great place to live, work, raise a family and enjoy retirement.” This petition also states that the organizers met through the Facebook group Upper West Siders For Safer Streets. See the GoFundMe campaign here.
A petition which shares the safety concerns outlined above, titled “We demand safe and clean streets on the Upper West Side,” has collected a bit over 6,600 signatures. It states that “the safety and well-being of Upper West Side residents is in jeopardy with the conversion of neighborhood hotels into temporary shelters without notice to residents.” It concludes by asking to “Please sign the petition and share the link if you are in support of relocating these men. View the petition here.
In response to the above, Upper West Siders for a Compassionate, Safe and Equitable Community was formed. As of writing, this petition has attracted slightly over 2,600 signatures. It opens by stating: “At this unprecedented time – with a global pandemic, a recession, and an ongoing reckoning with our nation’s racist past and present – it is critical that we act with compassion and empathy to those among us who are most in need. We believe this can be done, while ensuring the health and safety of our community residents.” See the petition here.
Similar concerns can be found in a letter to city officials published by UWS Strong. This letter, addressed to Mayor de Blasio, states that the group is “deeply disturbed by a rise in inflammatory, dehumanizing rhetoric and incitements to violence against vulnerable New Yorkers who are living on the streets or in shelters.” The letter also addresses the group’s concern “about calls to remove Project Renewal, Help USA, and the Center for Urban Community Care from three Upper West Side hotels, without identifying any safe or reasonable alternative location.” Signatures are listed at the bottom of the page, though there is no total tally counted. View the letter at www.uwsstrong.org.
It is sad that it is being reported as a “competition.” It need not be that way.
Please note that the the petition for compassionate New Yorkers is on change.org which is a national website that anyone can sign . Most signers are not UWSiders.
More importantly, the people who are signing the petition for safe and clean streets are compassionate as well. Why must we be so divisive? As a matter of fact, they often mention how deplorable the homeless are being warehoused and not receiving proper care and treatment. What are the most humane and appropriate ways to plan an easy transition to better facilities where they can receive counseling, job training, housing , food , recreation etc .away from all the temptations of alcohol and drugs. The hotels are not adequate. The community resources are already stretched beyond its’ limits. Our community has more government sponsored (NYCHA, shelters, section 8, etc.) than most if not all communities.
Why not invest time, money and energy into a future transition to potentially more therapeutic and positive? No one wants a police state.
Elder: My only question would be: if these people are so compassionate, why is the focus of their lawsuit getting the homeless out of the hotels at any cost – even at the cost of creating petri dishes in the shelters? How “humane” is THAT?
Sadly, they talk out of both sides of their mouths; giving lip service to compassion and tolerance, while spending $50,000 on a lawyer to sue the City to remove them from the hotels. With respect, that doesn’t sound like “compassion” and “humaneness” to me.
That said, I agree that we should be looking for both short- and long-term solutions that ARE compassionate and humane. There are some very good and successful programs out there, and they should be replicated. The issue is not money (though, of course, that is a factor) but political will.
Where is the $1B wasted by Chirlane that was supposed to help all the homeless, drug addicted and mentally disturbed people?
Stop saying we should have compassion, etc. We should be demanding full transparency from Chirlane. What did she do with all that money? Clearly it was not used in the manner it should have been.
It was actually $885 million, and was targeted solely for mental illness. That said, the two are not mutually exclusive: we can have compassion, etc. and also demand full transparency from the mayor, agency head, etc. And no, the THRIVE money was not well-managed, and did not even go to the types of programs for which it was created. 🙁
Ian- Not sure what you mean by “petri dishes”. I too hate that the community had to resort to being litigiousness. I believe that is a by-product of the community not feeling heard, lack of responsiveness and not taken seriously in terms of the crime, drugs, sexual predators, public lewdness, aggressiveness and panhandling that was going on. There was also a fair amount of bs and outright lies.
It is a shame that the group had to resort to this to get heard. This whole situation is a lose-lose. The homeless are just in a nicer zip code but not getting the help they need. If COVID19 is a concern, they aren’t protecting themselves or others.
There is also talk that this will be permanent and not “temporary “. We need transparency.
Bottom line: I’ve lived here 40 years and never felt so scared or that I can’t walk the streets at night.
Linda: Congregate housing lie shelters do not provide enough space to social distance. That is why the homeless were moved out in the first place. Because to keep them there would have created petri dishes for the virus, leading to hug clusters that would not only have decimated the shelter system, but would likely have spread outside it, putting the entire City at risk.
That said, I am the first to claim, and have done so often, that the plan was badly thought out, badly implemented and was being badly managed and monitored at first. Thankfully, a combination of the social service providers getting fully up and running in each facility (they, too, were given very little notice, and had to create entire new systems out of whole cloth), and the increase of NYPD presence, have helped to calm down the situation quite dramatically over the past week or so.
Problem remains, of course, but hopefully the situation will continue to calm.
There is no talk of them being permanent; that is misinformation. The FEMA contracts expire in October. And even if renewals are offered (now unlikely due to the political and local hue and cry) they would still be sent back to the shelters once the worst of the crisis was over.
if you have been here 40 years, you came in after a situation that makes this looks like a mere annoyance. In the 1970s (I have been living here for 55 years), there were crack addicts all over the place, prostitutes on almost every corner on Broadway, regular shootings all along Amst and Col Avenues in the 70s and 80s (streets), and truly horrendous SROs with completely unaided populations. Trust me, the UWS has been MUCH worse than it is now. Still, you are here now, so your concerns are valid for the current situation. I’m sorry that you feel you cannot walk the streets at night. Since the late 1980s, I have never had that concern. I walk all around the UWS even at night. It is not hat I am suicidal (LOL) or have no sense of fear. I am simply used to the area, and have not seen anything that would make me that scared. And this is not even a matter of gender. When I was married (1980s), my wife and I would take long walks all around the neighborhood, with no fear whatsoever. I think there is more hyperventilating going on than is actually warranted. But that is simply my opinion.
As a resident of the upper west side for many years, I am appalled by what is happening. I am at 67th street so I do not see much of what you are experiencing. Of course, I do when I venture out. It is disgusting that we have to endure this. Our mayor needs to be removed. He is destroying the Upper West and we have enough problems with surviving the virus.
I don’t question the sincerity or the motivations of the West Side Community Organization, but it seems to me that the $105,000 they have raised could be used
more effectively to help the homeless and the hungry, rather than on lobbying and whatever else they propose to do with this large sum of money.
Yes- I definitely agree about the “Petri dish” analogy. The residents are sharing rooms and are often without masks.
We are both older so presently I have only been harassed and panhandled. Are men targeted less? .Younger women have been followed home and sexually harassed. More importantly, we do not want to go back to those days . Our car was stolen, someone was raped in my building, and my son was mugged . Where are we headed?
The services that have been pieced together are like spit in the ocean. Thankful that they are getting some help and a roof over their heads but totally inadequate. It is a terrible situation. Over 700 men and women who of course should be supported. Again, a lose-lose situation.
Will the city try to buy these buildings?
Sandra: Beblahsio is term-limited, so he is out anyway.
Michael: Hear, hear! And what they intend to do is to sue the City to remove the “hotel homeless” as quickly as possible, no matter the dangers. And I am guessing they will try to sue to make sure the city cannot move homeless into hotels again for any reason. Both lawsuits would fail utterly.
First, I think you misunderstood what I said. I was pointing out that returning the homeless to shelters FROM the hotels would create petri dishes in the shelters. At the hotels, most have their own rooms, with only a few doubling up in the largest rooms; the whose idea of the exercise it to socially distance them, which is not possible in the shelters. So they are MUCH safer where they are then moving them back prematurely.
That said, I am sorry to hear about your troubles. Sounds bad. But I doubt any of the things you describe are related to the hotel homeless; rather, they are issues that are growing anyway. Not good.
As for the hotels, hotel owners are not likely to sell their hotels, even for a lump sum payday. Ty make far too much to be enticed by that. So no, I don’t think the City is going to even offer to buy them, much less be successful
Michael Wolf – why aren’t you questioning the $1B (Or $885M as pointed out by Ian) wasted by Chirlane DeBlasio????? THAT is truly a large sum of money.
Michael, are you deaf and blind? Asking for a friend
what about the residents of the hotels using drugs, peeing, and harassing the people who live in the UWS. What are you going to do for US?
Since there is an election coming up , I feel it would be helpful to hear what our representatives feel about this issue short term and long term.
I need to know where they stand and certainly don’t have any clear notion where they do. Need some straight answers no matter what their opinions are so I can vote accordingly.
This whole thing has actually helped to focus on many issues. One important one is if the people I vote for reflect my sentiments and will represent me accordingly.
Public urination is a “violation,” for which the only remedy is ticket. (And accordign to the NYPD, they get FAR more complaints about this vis-a-vis collegiate types going to the bars on Amst and Col than they do about the homeless.) Using drugs, even in public, is also a violation or low-level misdemeanor,, not an “arrest-able” offense. The police COULD issue tickets, but that would not have the effect I believe you intend: i.e., as a deterrent, or even perhaps to get those people off the street.
As for harassment, that, too, is a low-level misdemeanor, unless it rises to the level of “menacing” or outright “assault.” If it DOES rise to those levels, the right thing to do is call 911 and report it.
You may not like those answers, but they are the truth. If you want to change these situations, the thing to do is lobby lawmakers for new laws, stronger law, and giving more “teeth” to laws that already exist. The NYPD can only enforce laws that exist, and only to the degree that they are permitted to. The answer to THAT is to lobby the mayor and City Council to give the NYPD back some of the “tools” that were taken from it in recent months.
I fully agree that, perhaps more than usual, we need to know what specific proposals the candidates have, and hold their feet to the fire. Absolutely!