According to an email from the West Side Community Organization – a “not-for-profit social welfare organization” which launched during the pandemic to oppose the relocation of homeless individuals from overcrowded shelters to commercial hotels – there are now two new emergency shelters operating on the Upper West Side.
While the email gets quite specific, the Department of Social Services (DSS) has not confirmed any details.
The Belnord Hotel at 207-209 West 87th Street has been “housing both migrant families as well as NYC unsheltered families,” and Riverside Terrace at 350 West 88th Street is housing couples and families with adult children – “both migrant families and local NYC families,” according to the email.
The email also states that half of the units at the Park 79 (117 West 79th Street) will soon be reserved for Department of Homeless Services (DHS) referrals, while the other half will be offered through housing lotteries (like this one) with income restrictions.
When we contacted DSS (which is comprised of various agencies, including DHS) for details and confirmations, the response we received only confirmed the Safe Haven shelter on West 83rd Street (which was also mentioned in the email), in addition to several statements about their overall response to the asylum-seeker crisis – including the fact that “Public hearings are not required for emergency sites.” Some Upper West Siders have expressed frustration over the City’s lack of communication and transparency.
A further statement provided by a DSS spokesperson reads (in part) as follows:
“…as part of our moral and legal obligation to provide shelter to anyone in need, including thousands of recently-arrived asylum seekers, our teams continue to work around the clock to procure emergency shelter capacity across the city. We need every community to come together to respond to this humanitarian crisis as we continue to use every tool at our disposal to ensure that we are meeting the unprecedented need for shelter services on the ground.”
The West Side Community Organization’s email concluded by stating that “These Four facilities will bring the total number of those experiencing homelessness to nearly 600 people within NINE BLOCKS in a matter of only a few weeks. This is abject failure on the part of the City, our Council-member Gale Brewer, and our Community Board to address the interests of the community they represent.”
“We all know that we have a crisis with homeless people and that they need housing, but every neighborhood has to step up and do its fair share, and the West Side is clearly doing much more than its fair share,” said former senate candidate Maria Danzilo in a statement to the NY Post.