UWS Open Hearts Initiative and “Da Homeless Hero,” a resident of the Lucerne Hotel at 201 West 79th Street, are organizing a virtual forum during which mayoral candidates will answer questions asked to them by homeless New Yorkers.
“UWS Open Hearts Initiative and Da Homeless Hero are presenting a Mayoral Candidate Forum where candidates answer to the experts on homelessness: Homeless New Yorkers themselves,” the group stated in a January 24 tweet. “In this first-of-its kind event, all questions to candidates will be posed by directly impacted individuals experiencing homelessness. Join us to elevate the voices of directly impacted New Yorkers holding mayoral candidates accountable, and ensuring a better approach to homelessness in the next administration.”
UWS Open Hearts has been advocating to keep the Lucerne Hotel open for homeless residents since they first arrived in July 2020, while the opposing West Side Community Organization has argued against using this and other hotels as shelters – citing a lack of onsite services for residents and a declining quality of life for Upper West Siders on surrounding streets.
Since the beginning, there has been a lot of back and forth regarding the future living arrangements of the approximately 280 men living at the 79th Street hotel. As of earlier this month, current Lucerne Hotel residents were given the choice to either stay put or relocate to the Raddison Hotel in the Financial District.
According to Patch, which first wrote about the upcoming forum, the following mayoral candidates will be in attendance:
- Maya Wiley
- Andrew Yang
- Scott Stringer
- Shaun Donovan
- Carlos Menchaca
- Dianne Morales
- Joycelyn Taylor
- Ray McGuire
- Eric Adams
- Kathryn Garcia
The event is also being supported by Vocal-NY, Safety Net Project of the Urban Justice Center, Neighbors Together, and Human.NYC. The virtual forum will take place on Thursday, February 4 at 5:30pm. Those who wish to attend can sign up here.