Homeless men at Upper West Side hotel to be relocated after backlash

Upper West Side of Manhattan buildings.
Upper West Side of Manhattan buildings.
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Some Upper West Side residents created a nonprofit and hired a lawyer in a campaign to move homeless men temporarily living in local hotels.

Homeless men at Upper West Side hotel to be relocated after backlash

Locals created a nonprofit and hired a lawyer in a campaign to get the hotel's residents moved.
September 9, 2020

New York City will move close to 300 homeless men temporarily living in a hotel on the Upper West Side of Manhattan after residents in the neighborhood escalated complaints about their presence, the New York Times reports. 

The COVID-19 pandemic drove the city to relocate some shelter residents into hotel rooms to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Project Renewal and its temporary shelter at the Lucerne hotel in the Upper West Side became a target for locals, who said that men staying in the hotel had been harassing pedestrians and openly using and sharing drugs. 

Some went as far as creating a new nonprofit called the West Side Community Organization and hiring Randy Mastro, an attorney and previously an official in former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s administration. But others in the community balked at these efforts, saying the opposition to housing homeless New Yorkers was hypocritical for the largely liberal and wealthy neighborhood.

Mastro’s involvement in pressuring the city to relocate men living at local hotels has also created conflict at another nonprofit. Having threatened to sue the city if it ends the practice of temporarily placing homeless New Yorkers in hotels during the pandemic, the Legal Aid Society is planning to monitor the transfers. Meanwhile, Mastro serves as the vice chairman of the organization’s board of directors. “We all share a common goal to try to do the right thing, even when we see things differently,” he told the Times. 

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.
20201021