A judge will rule by Monday about whether men staying at the Lucerne Hotel will continue to live on the Upper West Side.
The saga of the 200-plus men living at the temporary homeless shelter at the Lucerne Hotel since the end of July will finally come to an end by Monday.
The decision to move the men from the Upper West Side to the Financial District’s Radisson Hotel is currently being decided in front of the Manhattan Supreme Court.
On Monday and Tuesday, a two-day hearing took place in which interested parties made cases for their different stances.
Keeping track of the involved groups has become challenging in and of itself.
In one corner, believing the men should get moved downtown, are the city and the West Side Community Organization, which is a group of Upper West Side residents who hired high-profile lawyer Randy Mastro to force the city’s hand in moving the Lucerne Hotel residents.
In the other corner, wanting the men to stay at the Lucerne, are Financial District residents, an attorney representing three men from the Lucerne Hotel shelter, and Upper West Side resident groups such as UWS Open Hearts.
During the two-day hearing, Judge Debra James denied Mastro’s request to let residents part of the West Side Community Organization have a say on the case’s outcome, according to the NY Daily News.
“WestCo stands by the fact that housing DHS clients at 52 William Street will provide more single rooms, on-site medical and support services, recreation space, job training and proximity to downtown-based treatments and therapies,” West Side Community Organization said in a news release. “The Lucerne Hotel continues to be a dangerous place to house DHS clients during a second wave of COVID-19, where men live doubled up in single-occupancy rooms are unable to social distance.”
Project Renewal would remain the service provider for the men currently staying at the Lucerne Hotel if they were moved to the Financial District shelter. The organization has stated before that the men would receive the same services upon the move.
However, the argument of more space at the Radisson Hotel shelter was shared by lawyers from the city, who pointed to the importance of 1,000-feet of recreational indoor space at the Financial District hotel that the Lucerne Hotel does not have.
The Radisson Hotel is in the process of getting turned into a permanent shelter.
“This case is going to decide how the city deals with homeless policy and housing policy in the future,” said Michael Hiller, the lawyer representing the homeless men wanting to stay on the Upper West Side, to NY1. “Are we going to warehouse homeless people, homeless individuals? Or are we going to treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve. Are we going to take care of each other? Or are we going to allow wealthy and well-connected communities to forcibly relocate men to other areas?”
Previously, on Oct. 19, Judge James ruled for a temporary restraining order that allowed Lucerne residents to remain at the UWS hotel until a decision was reached.
Judge James said she would make her decision by Monday.