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Manhattan Residents Don't Want Empty Hotels to House the Vulnerable During the Pandemic

The Upper West Side of Manhattan is embroiled in controversy as local residents react badly to at-risk New Yorkers being housed in a local hotel for safety during the pandemic.
August 14, 2020, 5am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Manhattan, New York City, New York
Francois Roux

"The Lucerne Hotel at 201 West 79th Street will be used to house 283 homeless people who have been staying at shelters downtown, as a way to reduce the population at those shelters so there is less of a Covid-19 risk," according to an article published by the West Side Rag on July 24.

That news came from an email sent to constituents from New York City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal. A few days later, the use of the hotel to house men from project Renew had erupted in controversy, as reported in a separate article by Jacob Rose, published on July 27.

"Shortly after groups of homeless men began to arrive by bus on Monday morning [July 27] to their new living quarters at The Lucerne Hotel on 79th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, Councilmember Helen Rosenthal showed up in a car, and was soon surrounded by locals," reports Rose. 

Project Renew has been having trouble finding places for these at-risk men to stay during the pandemic. "The men were residents of two East Village shelters run by a nonprofit called Project Renewal that helps people recovering from drug abuse. Some of the men had already been moved to a hotel on West 51st Street — but conflict between shelter residents and their neighbors caused them to be moved again, one shelter resident who calls himself Da Homeless Hero told West Side Rag," according to Rose in the article from July 27.

The articles and the comments on both the articles are full of comments from local residents expressing concerns about the population of vulnerable New Yorkers living in the midst.

Full Story:
Published on Monday, July 27, 2020 in West Side Rag
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