Neighbors organizing against homeless shelter for Wooster Street

This is the first in a series of updates on homeless shelters scheduled for downtown; stay tuned for the others as I await word from the Department of Homeless Services.

But in the meantime, plans are in the works for a shelter with services — social workers, an employment program, a recreation component, 24-hour security — at 10 Wooster just north of Canal for 200 single men. It’s a four-story building across, currently a parking garage, that will be developed over the next 18 months by Westhab, a 40-year-old homeless service provider based in Westchester County. Community Board 2 has no formal role in the process, but they did get the presentation, which you can watch here on YouTube.

I’ve heard that there is a yet-unnamed group of local residents organizing against it.

The men will be in dorm rooms of eight to 12 people with communal bathrooms. And the idea behind this shelter is they stay there for three to nine months until they can transition to permanent housing (vs the overnight emergency shelters for street homeless).

From the sound of it at the meeting, the majority of neighbors are dead against the idea — no shocker — and they also have specific concerns about crime and quality of life. One request was that the entrance be placed on Canal and not Wooster; another was that the managers of the facility figure out where the residents will go to smoke. (The building is mostly on Wooster, but it looks like a piece of it extends to Canal in the midblock, directly across from the post office.)

This is the third shelter scheduled for CB2 (Canal to 14th, more or less) — there’s a shelter for 90 women coming to West 11th Street being planned by Project Renewal and a “safe haven” shelter planned for 14th Street. The Department of Social Services is using the City Charter’s Fair Share rules to distribute shelters around the city more equitably.

A report from the committee will go before CB2’s full board this month, and committee hopes to have the Westhab back later this spring to continue the presentation.

 

29 Comments

  1. You should add another shelter coming to 105 Washington St under CB1.

    Center for Urban Community Services Safe Haven Organization (https://www.cucs.org)

  2. “No Shocker” that residents are fighting this? Really, When the crimes are being committed all over this city from the people in these shelters or ” Hotel Shelters” which the so called Mayor did without community board meetings. Leaving residents to deal with assaults on them, crime, drug use around the streets. S- all over the place. There is an agenda to destroy our neighborhoods and NYC. This isn’t woman and children living in shelters Which should be priority. This is mostly mentally ill criminals and even sex offenders inside these places. How about the fight against the other 200 coming to the Radisson Downtown hotel that was done behind our back. Now they are fighting in court. Downtown is a horror, you need to watch your back as you walk around. Living in fear! that is what this administration wants. Rights for these people and f__ the community. This isn’t only about homelessness, which aren’t all criminals and mentally ill. This is about safe streets. Just look what is going on all over the city. Chelsea is a mess. The man that assaulted the poor Asian lady came from a homeless shelter and many many more crimes being committed by these people that are being put amongst us. Praying for a Mayor who has the communities back. .

  3. Does this mean my parking garage since 1983 is closing? Do you know when?

  4. That’s a block I will most certainly never walk up again. Sad for the people & businesses on the block.

  5. The bottomline: we have a mayor that is more interested in ideology that solutions and progress. I am very sympathetic to the homeless problem, the vast majority of homeless have drug/alcohol addiction or mental illness that should be treated. However why does it make sense to do this at taxpayer expense in real estate that costs $2000/square foot and sits right in the middle of the tax base that pays for the majority of the city’s budget? Our mayor is more interested in making political points and trying to become President than he is in actually solving these problems. Trying to destroying Manhattan, which is the commercial backbone in NYC and where most jobs reside/tax revenue is generated, is bad policy. I cannot wait until the next election, I would take virtually anybody over this disaster of an incompetent mayor we have managing our city.

    • Campaign promise? Will we have a mayor or mayoral candidate who would – even for one night – sleep in a homeless hotel? Yes, and smoke butts in its doorway? Come on, man, as the president might say… Ugh.

  6. And that’s why I am voting Republican and/or NO ONE affiliated with DiBozo’s political ideologies. It’s like him and his wife have a personal vindictive agenda towards Manhattan, and certain areas of Manhattan. Downtown needs to hold a mayoral candidate forum with the new candidates and discuss our concerns.

    • Sandra I 100 percent agree. As a registered Dem I refuse to vote for anyone who has the same ideas as this So Called Mayor. I am not seeing anyone who will clean up our streets. Its very sad. I am praying for the city.

  7. From the article above, shelter with services — social workers, an employment program, a recreation component, 24-hour security. This looks like supportive housing. I am part of an org that provides these/ develops and services. In San Francisco they have been placed in higher end neighborhoods with no real issues. Candidates for supportive housing usually need to show some level of likelihood of success. Im sorry but my empathy for the people commenting is supper low. We are living in one of the best parts of a relatively safe city. If you want to support a strong public safety mayor, do so. I agree with that. But Tribeca, and Soho and lower manhattan are not gated communities. You want homogenous ‘hoods? Go to Westchester.

    • I need to respond to PV a relatively ” Safe City”? Are you serious? You definitely don’t live here. LOL, I don’t think so. We are not all ” “Rich” living here. So crazy how that is assumed. So horrible to even say! Like San Francisco is doing so well. Give me a break. There are working class lower and middle income living here of all cultures and races. We are all for affordable housing, we need that in the city. But putting more homeless men amongst us in our communities isn’t the answer. Its about Homeless Mentally ill some addicts and some sex offenders all around us. We are surrounded. NO THE CITY ISN’T A SAFE PLACE AND ONLY GONNA GET WORST IF WE DON’T FIGHT THIS! We have enough homeless hotels and shelters all around us. So please don’t tell us to go to Westchester.

    • Why should you have to move to westchester to feel safe when the neighborhood is safe to begin with? Just importing a problem and making it worse

  8. This is great news! I work down the street from a men’s shelter in Mid Town East and you would never know. There comes a time that we citizens/tax payers change our way of thinking. I cannot bear walking by a person who is mentally ill and many times still has the hospital tag on their wrist, wandering around lost and alone. And yes, sometimes dangerous but most the time not. We must be compassionate and put our taxes where we claim our morals are.
    I am no huge fan of the mayor but the hysteria is out of the park. Crazy Rudy had 7700+ murders his eight years in office, Mike had 6600+ in his twelve years and Bill has about 2300. Chill people – take a deep breath and remember that the homeless issue isn’t going to go away if we all don’t work at it. And let’s give the Bronx a break.
    Remember the HUGE drama over keeping the Sanitation garage and the salt hut on the West Side Hwy? I was all for it keeping it but you’d think it was the end of the world with all the complaints. Now? It is probably the coolest section of the whole darn highway.
    Breath, we’re gonna be okay. Let’s help some people in our neighborhood – our beloved city will be all the better for it.

    • Well said, TG and PV.

    • TG thank you for the insight to what the reality is…Adam I agree with you on the negative impacts on the local communities of adding giant jails and not overriding the historic rules.

      However, I would rather have the homeless OFF the streets and able to get back on their feet vs living on the street. Not everyone who is homeless is mentally ill, a criminal or drug addicted. There are plenty of people who lost their jobs and need to get back on their feet.

  9. To TG: Well said!!

  10. TG it’s not about not helping people who are homeless. Maybe this place will have people who truly want to better their lives. But we are already seeing the assaults from other homeless hotels/shelters around here. Sorry but the crime statists are from when it comes from cop hater Deblasio. Hopefully this place will be different but I doubt it

  11. Curley Effect strategy: they want to change the demographics of the city, to make it entirely welfare clients dependent upon the Democratic party who they will have to vote for:

    https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/shleifer/files/curley_effect.pdf

  12. So what exactly is De Blasio’s plan as he runs out the door after bringing back the worst part of the 70’s to NYC? He has bloated our budget by 34%, adding 22k jobs to an inefficient City bureaucracy, ignored the upswing in crime and pathetically tried to campaign for President and Governor as he sleepwalks through his final term as the most hated in office NYC Mayor I can recall. 

    Please tell me how any of the following is a good idea for our community. 

    1) Closing Riker’s. Riker’s is a disaster, but spending what will end up probably being $20+ billion on four mega neighborhood jails is not the solution. Even Judge Lippman disagreed with the scale and negative local impact. Spend $2 billion to fix Riker’s and make it more accessible and then spend a few billion more on education, community services, job training and other programs to reduce recidivism. 

    2) Override Landmarks to over develop Soho & Noho. We have Landmarks for a reason because we have previously seen the problems caused by overdevelopment. Once you destroy neighborhoods such as Soho, you cannot bring them back.

    3) Flood downtown with homeless while neglecting our own current homelessness issues. First they shoved part of the UWS problem they caused down to Wall Street and now plan to move 200 men mainly from Riker’s and Bellevue to one of the newest and most recently renovated blocks on Canal Street. Add to that 200 more homeless men slated for Wooster Street and the other announced Downtown shelters and you can’t help but wonder what is the City’s actual goal besides wrecking Downtown? I am certain some of you will cry NIMBY-ism, but we already have our fair share of homeless shelters and we haven’t done a thing to help the homeless currently on the streets in our own neighborhood.  

    Soho/Tribeca/Chinatown are primarily residential, cultural and tourist destinations and deserve better than to be treated as a dumpling ground by De Blasio and his minions.

    • Adam, now THAT was well said!

      • Thank you Adam!!! Thank you!!! You said it so well! I don’t know how bad its gonna get down here. But its gonna get bad!! These criminals have more rights than the communities. A dangerous sick agenda for downtown!

    • Adam WELL SAID!!!

      PV and TG, J, K L, M, N, O, P or whatever you want to call yourself. YOU must works for Dibozo or the Dept of Homeless services. Every shelter I have come across in the downtown, is NOT supervised and their so call residents are pooping in the neighborhood, assault the neighbors, and STILL CHOSING TO LIVE in the STREET!!! Across or near by the shelters to get the services. It is still attracting drug addicts and dealers!! Why not in YOUR back yard since you seem so comfortable with it.

  13. I too feel sympathetic to the homeless and mentally ill but at the expense for the safety for my family? I am Asian and am afraid to take the train. My parents have already been accosted on the train for being Asian and we all carry pepper spray to protect ourselves. So many of these violent criminals (mostly homeless) are back on the streets after these attacks. Fidi is a complete mess after the homeless took over the radisson. Why live in constant fear for your lives and your families lives to help the homeless who are doing most of the random attacking?? It doesn’t make sense. I love nyc but we are truly regretting buying down here because now we feel like we are stuck here and the city keeps getting worse. All our tax dollars are being spent on people who don’t make me feel safe. Bottom line.

    • I am so sorry for what you and your family experience. I truly hope things start getting better and that you and family are able to feel safe in this country and city that you call home.

  14. At shelters operated by Westhab, auditors found excessive mold and mildew in showers; multiple bug infestations; a dead rat in an air duct; a mattress held together by duct tape; a detached door posing a security risk; expired fire extinguishers; evidence of vermin in clients’ rooms; evidence of mold in clients’ rooms; etc. Squalid shelters pose a real danger to the health and safety of residents.

    Past residents of Westhab facilities have filed complaints; one homeless person online called Westhab “literally the devil.” Another said that Westhab is “the worst place to go if you become homeless.”

    Violence and abuse are major concerns for shelter residents: According to the Coalition for the Homeless, 77 percent of people living on the streets have previously stayed in the shelter system but decided not to return, citing the unacceptable sacrifice of their safety, dignity, and agency.

    Homeless New Yorkers deserve so much better than Westhab. They deserve so much better than our broken system that sets them up to fail.

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