City plans homeless shelter for Beekman and William

The city is planning a long-term shelter for 170 single men at 41-43 Beekman, a five-story residential building between William and Gold. The location, around the corner from Spruce Street School, has already raised concerns for Community Board 1, and I have heard that some parents are also ready to fight the siting.

The Department of Social Services, in its October letter to Community Board 1, noted that the district does not have “shelter resources for any population experiencing homelessness” but that is clearly not true: the Radisson hotel at 52 William is now a sanctuary site for migrant families with children under 18.

And the city is planning to open a “Safe Haven” at 105 Washington just north of Rector with 84 beds for single people and pets. That is targeted to open in late 2024. There is also the Bowery Mission on Lafayette, but perhaps since that is not a city-run shelter, they do not count it.

Quality of Life Committee members at the meeting on Nov. 15 insisted that the city must be more of a partner in siting a facility like this and review the location in advance, before construction begins. The department will establish a Community Advisory Board that will monitor the site, but only once it is ready to operate.

“We support getting homeless off the street and we are absolutely devoted to helping our fellow man,” said board chair Tammy Meltzer. “But if you are going to open a single men’s shelter next to a pre-k to eighth grade school that the city built, that is disconcerting.”

Right now, the building is being emptied of current tenants; construction is slated to start in July 2024 for a 12-month period. So that gets us to summer 2025. (I would want to calculate the square footage, but the building looks small to me for 170 people…) The provider is HELP Social Services Corp.

“We welcome shelters in our community, but this is not a great location,” committee chair Pat Moore said. “How do we halt this process? Before work is done there needs to be some input on this.”

The DSS rep said she would “elevate” the committee members concerns. And Pat Moore said they would be asked to come back in the next month or two.

Committee member Justine Cuccia made the good point that for a community with such good schools, the city should be creating long-term *family* shelters downtown, rather than



  1. My children attend the school nearby. Some parents joined the CB1 zoom call in other night, the PTA president also got a chance to spoke. CB1 encouraged us to write to Chris Marte’s office.

  2. This is gonna be a wild one. Then again it might be over quickly given that it’s entirely possible the Dept of Social Services simply didn’t check to see that there’s an elementary school much closer than than 1,000 feet away, which could necessitate full and ongoing, regular criminal background checks for each resident, or that the bldg is on the Pace campus (essentially).

  3. J Frank, so if I live in the apartments above Spruce School, does that necessitate a full, ongoing, regular criminal background check on me, or is there something else here that I am missing?

    “We support…just not here”.


    • Yes there is something else you’re missing: I’m all for it. But shelters screen, right? (not like in the Gehry Tower, where, if your $750 p/h lawyer disappears your securties fraud conviction, first month is free) Why make it so difficult for any single male on parole, or probation by putting a shelter so close to a school? People on certain types parole or probation, and esp sex offenders, can’t live within 1,000 feet of a school. Not all unhoused single men fit this profile by a long shot, but involvement with the incarceral system destroys credit, and incarceration creates poverty, both making it hard to stay out of the shelter system. Why not make this a family shelter? Was the city looking for a fight?

  4. Once again, I will ask the people here: where else do you want these types of places? This is a dense city; you move it one place, and some other party has an issue with it. There is nothing inherently dangerous about a single homeless [unhomed] man. I’m a privileged person; I’ve never been homeless. But I at least try to have some empathy for others who were not and are not so fortunate.

    The idea that ‘oh the schools are so good here, we should only have families’ is just trying to gloss over reactionary NIMBYism, under the sheen of ‘but we do care, just about other types of people.’ Next thing we’ll be reading: there are poor, homeless kids in my kids’ school, and I didn’t pay FiDi/Tribeca taxes for my them to be around that. The goalposts seem to be on a perpetual motion machine.

    Integration is important, as is every single denizen sharing in the burden of supporting our fellow person.

    • How about Greenwich CT?

      • Yes, why not? I grew up in a wealthy suburban New York town, and even then I bemoaned the lack of socioeconomic and racial diversity. I had to go to college in a city and then move to Manhattan to get it.

        The suburbs would be better off if they weren’t so closed off, but they’re usually too short-sighted and selfish to see it.

    • Malcolm,
      With respect…think it is not useful to make broad brush categories like NIMBY or whatever.
      Should you be dubbed a suburban transplant gentrifier?
      Or let’s say a garage was to be built – no doubt there’d be opposition to that.

      • I try not to generalize, but I’ve lived here long enough and it’s always the same story.

        Yes, if a garage was proposed, there would be opposition. It’s a bad use of space in a neighborhood that should have fewer cars to begin with. Conversely, supporting housing is something we have too little of.

  5. Lets not forget Chuck Daley froze to death on the street here in uber wealthy Tribeca,, just last year.. There are certain realities here in NYC that we need to deal with. And it will benefit all of us.

  6. In full support of this. Care about your fellow humans!

  7. Better to house folks than have the same people aimlessly wandering around and sleeping on the same city streets.

    More permanent housing for the chronically homeless please, paired with meaningful social and mental health services provided on site.

    We live in an incredibly wealthy neighborhood and city; there shouldn’t be a single person sleeping outside on the sidewalk, on shared public space. Everybody wins when all are permanently housed.

    • Maybe build something in Brooklyn where it is not as densely populated or have more space? You get more space for the money…why is it necessary for homeless to be in Manhattan?

    • Anyone that thinks it’s a good idea to put a men’s homeless shelter near an elementary school is not living in the real world. It doesn’t make sense for obvious reasons. Clearly those making the decision have no clue!

  8. the whole area is filled with homeless and worse. It is not safe walking around alone anywhere around there. We have enough downtown.

  9. It’s cute that the Chambers and Reade street residents are so offended by this NIMBY attitude as the shelter is quite literally not in their backyard.

    • There are plenty of homeless folks semi-permanently living on Reade and Chambers. I’d much rather they have permanent supportive housing on our street than the current situation.

      We get it: very few people want housing for the homeless near them. But until our country decided to invest serious money/resources in national health care, mental health services and affordable housing, our options for dealing with chronic homelessness are unfortunately quite limited.

    • I welcome a shelter or permanent supportive housing across the park here – the fewer men and women sleeping on the street the better for society. I have two kids at Spruce so I’d say I have a little skin in the game.

      Volunteer at a shelter and talk to the folks re how they landed in their current situation, join a board attempting to solve to the issue, talk to people outside your own socioeconomic circle. Learning is cute.

      • want to solve the homeless problem? stop pouring Billions into the progressive activist homeless complex that has no intention of solving the problem, just want more$ to “manage” it. get tough and real solutions. get people off the streets (no tents) and direct and fund to services. Hotel owners are making a fortune on tax payer $. use $ to build home complexes with services. Progressives will call racism, equity etc.. all they’re really saying is don’t mess with my cash cow. let them go find a comparable salary in the private sector. Good Luck with that

  10. Would it be possible to detail the reference to building being emptied of current tenants?
    Sounds like current residents are losing their housing?

  11. Opposing the siting of 170 men right next to a pre-K/elementary school is not NIMBY it’s common sense. DSS should abandon this idea now before wasting time and resources on a project that will never open. Even an NYC bureaucracy will eventually realize this is an abhorrent idea. If you support this inanity you are also responsible for the inevitable awful consequences involving local children. Think hard about that when you virtue signal-post about ‘helping people’ to support a morally reprehensible cause.

  12. Spruce street school has predominant population from tribeca. Look at the eschool zone map, only 3 streets in FiDi are zoned for this. I would expect more tribecans w kids at this school to be up in arms. Does tribeca even have many of these shelters? Why so many in FiDi??

  13. If you are a sex offender it will pop up on your email if you are registered to receive such emails. AND if you were a sex offender you will have to register no making you eligible to live in such proximity to a school. These shelter bring so many unwanted nuisances to the neighborhood.

  14. there is enough downtown. Streets are not safe. No one wants kids to be at risk in our city.

  15. It looks to me that anybody here arguing for it hasn’t seen what’s going on in FiDi rights now. Homeless people walking around William, Fulton, and John St. are most of the time are on drugs and/or mentally ill. Often, they present a danger to others, as well as themselves. Opening another shelter Instead of treating them) is not going to help these people and is a complete disregard for the safety and quality of life of the local residents

  16. This city is becoming a joke. You can have your mentally ill, drug-addled “single men”. Last month I called 911 after one “single man” had a 3.5 inch knife out and walking around City Hall Park. But it was OK because it was less than 4″.

    We shouldn’t have to volunteer to die or be assaulted.

    Leaving for a better life.

  17. For those that feel the proposed location of this shelter (adjacent to Spruce Street School, Pace University & a campus of Pine Street school and within 1/2 mile of 20 other schools & daycares) is not ideal, a petition has been created to oppose the location –

    As a resident who had first hand experience with the impact to the neighborhood when 52 William operated as a single men’s shelter and a parent who received alerts that sex offenders were living there, I am deeply concerned about the lack of communication from DSS and that we will see a repeat of what happened near 52 William St.

  18. Per NYS Social Service Law (§ 21-324), the Department of Social Services is required to post notice of a community information session related to a shelter opening on their agency website for public knowledge. The community meeting tonight regarding this shelter is not posted on their website. Are they deliberately trying to withhold knowledge of this meeting from the public? Maybe it’s their way of trying to keep the meeting small. Idk. But it seems fishy to risk violating a state mandate.