Upper West Side Residents Protest City's Plan for Homeless Shelter

The city's plan will bring up to 400 homeless adults to the neighborhood

By Gus Rosendale
|  Wednesday, Sep 5, 2012  |  Updated 7:40 AM EDT
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Residents on Manhattan's Upper West Side are concerned about a new shelter that's moving onto their block.  It's not the shelter itself causing them anxiety, they say, but what some see as a lack of supervision. Gus Rosendale reports.

NBC New York

Residents on Manhattan's Upper West Side are concerned about a new shelter that's moving onto their block. It's not the shelter itself causing them anxiety, they say, but what some see as a lack of supervision. Gus Rosendale reports.

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Residents and politicians living in and representing parts of the Upper West Side are protesting the city's plan to add emergency shelter housing to buildings in the middle of the residential neighborhood.

A large, vocal group of residents attended a packed Community Board 7 meeting Tuesday to express their outrage at the Department of Homeless Services' plan, which would transfer hundreds of homeless people to housing at 316 and 330 West 95th Street, between West End Avenue and Riverside Drive.
 
"They just sprung this on us without warning," said Gwyne Rivers, a parent who lives nearby who opposes to the plan.
 
"So it just feels very unfair. And it feels very purposeful that they did it in the summer when the parents couldn't react," she added.
 
The city's move will bring up to 400 homeless adults to the neighborhood, and many at the meeting said their main concern was safety and quality of life. 
 
"We're trying to penetrate the very dense wall of a tone deaf Bloomberg Administration that insists on doing these without regard to the impact on the community," said Aaron Biller.
 
The city has utilized the buildings for shelter housing in the past, and the buildings currently contain some low-income housing and single-room occupancy units.
 
In a statement, Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond said the agency "has a legal mandate to provide temporary, emergency shelter to homeless individuals in need, and opened a shelter on West 95th Street so that our client can live and be served with dignity and respect."
 
New York City's most recent statistics, taken at the end of August, found close to 45,000 homeless children and adults utilizing the city's shelters in a single day.
 
The DHS did not send a representative to the meeting, telling NBC 4 New York the group wasn't invited.
 
They said, though, that they are trying to work with community members to deal with their concerns. 

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