Neighbors rip plan for E. 31st St. shelter

Kips Bay resident Maria Verel expressed concern about crime in the neighborhood, saying there are already problems with loitering and public urination. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Residents of Kips Bay and Murray Hill expressed concern over a new shelter opening on East 31st Street between Fifth Avenue and Madison, especially since the Department of Homeless Services said at a recent meeting on the topic that the commercial hotels being used as shelters in the surrounding neighborhood won’t be closed until 2021.

Many at the meeting were also furious at what they felt was the community being steamrolled because the meeting served as an announcement about a finalized plan rather than a forum that would influence the plan’s outcome. The DHS has already said that the shelter is expected to open at the beginning of January.

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‘Safe Haven’ for homeless to open on East 17th St.

327 East 17th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The city is planning to open a new “Safe Haven” facility to house chronically homeless individuals in a Stuyvesant Square building that’s owned by Mount Sinai.

The building was previously used by Beth Israel as an HIV/AIDS hospice/residential treatment center. It is currently empty, located at 327 East 17th Street between First and Second Avenues. At one time, the site was a home rented by the Czech composer Antonin Dvorak, though it was later demolished.

Word of the proposal, which is aimed at housing 28 homeless people and helping them transition to regular housing, got out on Tuesday with an email from Community Board 6 to various community organizations.

According to the email, CB6 has plenty of questions about the plan, including why it’s coming to the area when there’s already an 850-bed shelter on East 30th Street and other, local smaller shelters, and concern over the location’s proximity to neighborhood schools. The email also noted there was no guarantee the homeless individuals would be people from the district.

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