City proposes another Safe Haven shelter for the Seaport

Image capture April 2023 © 2024 Google

The city has sited another “Safe Haven” shelter for Downtown, this time right next to the Peck Slip School at the Hampton Inn at 320 Pearl and Peck Slip. The shelter, which would open this fall, will have 106 beds for a population that is currently living on the streets. These are “low barrier” shelters, meaning there are very few requirements for living there, that target people who are the most resistant to shelter life and often have the most mental health needs. The shelter will provide health and mental health services from staff who work one-on-one with clients.

This shelter will be run by Breaking Ground, a 30-year-old non profit that first converted the Times Square Hotel as a shelter. They currently run more than two dozen permanent residents and transitional shelter in the city.

Community Board 1 was only notified on June 14 by the Department of Social Services, and the Quality of Life Committee addressed the proposal last night. They noted that this is not a smart siting, since it is literally attached to an elementary school. “Siting something like a family shelter would have been a no brainer,” board chair Tammy Meltzer said. “We know there is a huge need to serve homeless. But what our ask is, we have resources and abilities to be very supportive…it is concerning to us that only Safe Havens that are being rolled into the neighborhood.”

Plus it is pretty crummy that the city would suggest that they will engage the community in July, when the PTA is not operating, when parents are not at the school, and when a principal is currently retiring.

Image capture April 2023 © 2024 Google

The resolution will be on tonight’s full board meeting agenda, 6p at 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor, or online here. https://live.mcb1.nyc

The letter from DSS said that city will prioritize placements of clients who come from the “nearby community”: “Clients experiencing unsheltered homelessness are often deeply connected to the communities in which they spend time, despite lack of a fixed address. They will accept placements in their neighborhood but are not prepared to relocate. Therefore, in order to not only meet client needs, but also to address specific community concerns about unsheltered homelessness, it is critical that we site these low-barrier beds across the City and particularly in areas which have traditionally had concentrations of unsheltered clients.”

The letter also said this is a “first-of-its-kind resource” in CB1, but in fact it is not. Here’s the summary of shelters in Fidi:

  • 105 Washington: The city is building out another Safe Haven shelter with 84 beds at Washington and XXXX. That is also scheduled to open late summer or early fall.
  • 41-43 Beekman: The city is also developing a long-term shelter for 170 single men at 41-43 Beekman, a five-story residential building between William and Gold.
  • 52 William: The Radisson hotel is a sanctuary site for migrant families with children under 18.
  • 99 Washington: The Holiday Inn Financial District at Rector, with 492 rooms, is one of 13 humanitarian shelters run by NYC Health + Hospitals. The Dept. of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) just issued a new license for that use that runs through April 30, 2025. (In 2022, that hotel was facing foreclosure.)

The Real Deal reported last year, in reference to the Holiday Inn, that landlords can get $190 per day per room as sanctuary sites.

Also, I clarified this point with the city in April: DSS-DHS policy does not require that shelter residents leave the premises during the day. Residents are only required to vacate their rooms for a short period of time during the day to allow for regular cleaning and maintenance; they can remain in the recreational spaces/cafeteria/common spaces of the building. Were I involved in this process, I would make sure these shelters have adequate common areas for residents, beyond their rooms.

And since these stats should play a role here, hotel occupancy for Lower Manhattan — as measured by the Downtown Alliance in its quarterly real estate reports — is at 74 percent for the first quarter of 2024, down from 85 percent for the last quarter of 2023. That doesn’t seem all that drastic to me. For comparison, the first quarter of 2019 was 73 percent, and leading up to the pandemic, the average occupancy rate was around 85 percent.

 

12 Comments

  1. Nice, community and schools mean nothing. We have enough downtown. This should not be here. There are mentally ill and homelss men should not be right next door to a school!

    • I agree. Put these dangerous men in a neighborhood where poor people live.

      PS – We’re not allowed to use the H-word anymore. I believe the preferred term these days is “unhoused”.

  2. school is out so they slipping this shelter so parents can’t fight it!! That is why the neighborhood is not safe. disgusting

  3. Makes more sense as a shelter for migrant families, especially with the school so close.

  4. We will have to show up to that CB1 meeting. No voice, no consideration!

  5. The 105 Washington shelter is also within 400 feet of PS 150. It was pushed thru in a former administration and the operators have lied all throughout the process including stating that the shelter was for couples and those with pets, with beds set at around 55. Now it’s only for individuals and 84 beds. Parents have not been heard or allowed to weigh in and the processes are not transparent. An operator should not be allowed to lie and then still run a shelter. CB1 needs to recognize that the demographic in this area is now families and that some of the best schools in the state exist down here. If they want to keep these statuses at this school something needs to change. Not to mention that there is no way they care about keeping people close to the neighborhoods where they are currently unhoused. I’ve lived down here for 10+ years and there are not hundreds of unhoused roaming around… but there will be once these open…

  6. The only reason to choose this location I could think of is they got a great deal from the hotel which is probably on the brink of closing. It’s an odd spot in a desolate area where traffic noise and exhaust 24/7. Not much of a ‘neighborhood’ even though on the edge of the seaport. Peck Slip school is a bright spot and soon will be obscured by another monstrosity development across the street. Children and open space are always the first to be sacrificed in city / developer collaboration, they hate to leave either alone.

  7. While we are on the subject, does the city have any plans for the Africans/ counterfeit peddlers on Canal/Lispenard/Broadway/Church since 2020? They stopped the egregious spreads on the sidewalk since the crackdown but never left the area. The occupation is on going. With their packed wares at the ready and are on the streets at all hours with nowhere to go. These are able bodies in their prime with nothing to do. I hope the city addresses this problem soon before something really drastic happens.

    • It seems like the city, department of consumer affairs, NYPD have looked the other way on illegal street vendors as of late since you see so many now. To me this seems odd and is the perfect type of sting that one of these agencies should put together. People have to pay quite a bit to be legitimate street vendors and have to abide by specific regulations. It doesn’t make sense why they’ve stopped caring…

  8. Worth noting that Coalition for the Homeless is on Fulton Street.

    Since Covid there seems to be an increase in the number of people panhandling, especially on Fulton Street around Lot Less, 7-11 and Burger King and more seriously emotionally disturbed individuals on the streets and in “parklet” areas like by the Gehry Building etc.

  9. we get what we vote for

Comment: