Homeless men getting kicked out of an Upper West Side hotel are already getting the no-welcome sign from a Lower Manhattan group raising $1 million to keep them out of their neighborhood.
Larry Thomas is getting transferred to his third shelter since the coronavirus pandemic hit. He told CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez on Monday he’s physically and emotionally spent.
“I’m more stabilized in the streets. I can get me a park bench and ain’t gotta worry about nothing,” Thomas said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered Thomas and more than 200 hundred other homeless men out of the UWS emergency shelter at the Lucerne Hotel after people living nearby complained about safety issues and hired a high-priced attorney.
Now, Lower Manhattan residents in a group called Downtown New Yorkers Inc., are raising a million bucks to keep the men from moving into their neighborhood. They’ve hired an attorney to file an injunction. They declined CBS2’s request for an interview.
“Nobody cares about us down here?” Thomas said. “We not human beings?”
“We haven’t even met those people. We never even showed up. And they’re saying already we got a million dollars because we definitely don’t want you down here. That makes us feel like we are totally worthless,” shelter resident Shams da Baron said.
The Department of Social Services said the men will be transferred to a new shelter at the Radisson Hotel on William Street, across the street from a school, in mid-October. People who live nearby said they received little notice.
“There was no communication for the residents here on who was coming when they were coming, what safety measures and things were put into place to make sure that both people can feel comfortable,” one area resident said.
“But we also don’t want these men coming into our community feeling ostracized because they are trying to get back on their feet,” Financial District resident Therese Dacres said.
Over the long term, the DSS said it plans to convert the hotel into the Financial District’s first permanent “Turning the Tide Shelter,” a shelter dedicated to getting adult homeless families back on their feet.
The men said they’d rather stay at the Lucerne, where they’re finally settled and making progress.