Gilman Hall was sold last year to CIM Group, who says there is currently no plan to turn the building into a facility for the homeless. (Photo via Google Maps)
By Sabina Mollot
Gilman Hall, the former residence for residents of Mount Sinai Beth Israel that was sold last year to a California developer, is being eyed as a site of a future shelter.
Word that the city was mulling using the now vacant property to temporarily house women and children reached Community Board Six last Thursday.
Asked about this, Molly Hollister, CB6 chair, and Carin van der Donk, chair of CB6’s Housing, Homeless, and Human Rights Committee issued the following statement to Town & Village:
“We have been notified by our elected officials that Gilman Hall at East 17th Street and 1st Avenue is currently being assessed as a possible shelter or temporary housing facility for women and children by the New York City Department of Homeless Services. There is no immediate timeline for a final decision for the site.
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.
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.