We are outraged at the lack of advocacy by New York’s District 1 Councilwoman Margaret Chin, who has published a statement that appears to be prioritizing the interest of residents of our full borough before the needs of the constituents she was elected to represent in Downtown Manhattan.
Downtown New Yorkers have also not been brought to the table in the City’s planning conversations, and have been blindsided by a poorly executed press strategy that hardly informed the residents of the Financial District that the City has designated the Radisson Hotel on Wall Street to become a permanent alternative to the famously failed experiment, the Lucerne Hotel.
We urge Councilwoman Margaret Chin to uphold the commitment made by the Office of the Mayor in the Turning the Tide for Homelessness plan published on February 28, 2017 that states: “We will implement protocols to notify community leaders at least 30 days in advance and invite community input when a new shelter is proposed in their neighborhood.”
We have been denied our given right to be invited to the table for input on this new shelter. Right now, the demands and questions raised by downtown New Yorkers and our advocates should be prioritized. Before taking any action, we demand the City to share how it will engage downtown New York residents on the plans impacting the integrity of our neighborhood, safety for our children in nearby schools, cleanliness of our streets, and the already fragile health crisis in a uniquely dense neighborhood, among other deeply held concerns.
A very complex issue indeed, drowning out the voices of those whose livelihood is already here is a cowardly approach to an already extremely sensitive issue. As neighbors to already existing homeless shelters, we are deeply compassionate for the unique needs the homeless community deserves attention to. However, the concerns of the events that have unfolded on the Upper West Side are neither solved nor addressed by a virtually overnight change of address.