Women’s Homeless Shelter to Open on UWS

The Department of Social Services has announced that a women’s shelter will be opening at 537 West 59th Street, between Amsterdam and West End Avenues.

Project Renewal Shelter 537 West 59th Street

537 West 59th Street, via Google Street View

The facility is currently home to Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN), which recently announced plans to sell the building by the end of 2021. The media organization’s statement reads that “MNN aims to relocate the services provided at its 59th Street facility to a new-state-of-the-art media facility that will better enable MNN to serve community producers and students.”

The shelter, which is expected to open in 2024, will accommodate 200 women experiencing homelessness and mental health, and will be run by Project Renewal, the non-profit overseeing the temporary shelter site at the Lucerne Hotel on West 79th Street.

Most recently, it was ruled that (for now) the Lucerne Hotel residents can decide whether they want to remain on the UWS or move to the Radisson Hotel in the Financial District.

Local elected officials and community board leaders were first notified about the 59th Street shelter on December 30, 2020.

A statement from the DSS says that the women who will be housed at the 59th Street building will be Manhattan residents, which will allow them to be closer to their jobs, schools and services they depend on. Residents of the Upper West Side will be given priority.

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On-site services at the facility will include case management, individual and group counseling, permanency planning and housing placement assistance, on-site medical and mental health services, support groups, independent living and life skills workshops, and employment support.

Residents will also have access to outside services including primary healthcare, health and mental health services, referrals for substance use treatment, vocational training, employment placement, GED instruction, conflict mediation, and legal services.

The statement also says that Project Renewal will be providing on-site security at all times, with at least fifteen security guards per shift and 70 cameras throughout the site.

In addition, Project Renewal is expected to have a “24-hour operations desk line which can be reached at any time, to allow for the community to provide feedback in a timely manner and to immediately address any concerns that may arise.”

The opening of this shelter is part of the mayor’s “Turning The Tide” plan – first introduced in 2017 – and “commits to ending the use of all cluster sites and commercial hotel facilities citywide.” The statement says that the city will be “phasing out all commercial hotel locations” on the Upper West Side “by the end of [its] transformation plan.”

The DSS-DHS statement also says that the agency is “committed to ensuring that, over time, shelters are distributed equitably to meet the need in all five boroughs as we transform the shelter system and end haphazard band-aid practices, like the 21-year-old cluster program and use of commercial hotels which dates back to the 1960s, once and for all.”

An NYC DSS-DHS spokesperson provided us with the following quote about the upcoming facility:

“Homeless New Yorkers come from every community across the five boroughs, and now more than ever, we need every community to come together to address homelessness in this crisis. As we implement our borough-based approach, we are ending the use of inefficient stop-gap facilities citywide while opening the high-quality facilities New Yorkers in need deserve as they stabilize their lives. This shelter will be the first of its kind in this Community District, offering 200 women experiencing homelessness and mental health challenges the opportunity to get back on their feet safely and closer to their anchors of life in these unprecedented times. Working together with neighbors and not-for-profit service provider Project Renewal, we’re confident that these New Yorkers will be warmly welcomed—and through collaborative support and compassion, we will make this the best experience it can be for all.”

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