We are here to update you on the positive activity in our fight against the City’s effort to move 230-plus men from the Lucerne hotel to the Radisson hotel on William Street. After a day and a half of arguments in the New York State Supreme Court hearing how the neighborhood and men of the Lucerne, some of who suffer from significant mental health issues and addiction, will be harmed by this arbitrary and poorly planned move, the Judge continued her order to pause the City’s intended move until she provides a final decision. While this isn’t the end of our battle, it’s a very good sign as the “likelihood of success” is a key factor. True success, however, will require additional legal proceedings.
A brief recap of events: Downtown New Yorkers, Inc. filed a type of case known as an Article 78 petition on October 14 seeking to stop the City’s effort, along with a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction that sought to stop the move until the matter could be fully decided on the merits. State Supreme Court Justice James denied this effort’s request for the TRO. However, the same relief was then immediately sought by three homeless men residing at the Lucerne. In their case, which now is being considered together with ours, Justice James did issue a TRO, stopping the move until the preliminary injunction motion could be heard on November 16.
The judge heard oral argument on all motions on November 16 and 17, stating at the conclusion of the hearing that she will issue a written decision on the preliminary injunction on Monday, November 23. In this hearing, she also denied WestCo’s effort to intervene in our case who previously worked to convince the Mayor to close the Lucerne, and continues to support the City’s efforts against us.
While there are numerous possible outcomes in her final decision, we are cautiously optimistic that Justice James will issue a preliminary injunction for Downtown New Yorkers, Inc., and/or for the Lucerne men, which would prevent the move until the proceeding is fully decided on the merits. This may take several weeks.
We feel confident in the case presented against the City opposing their illegal and arbitrary decision to transplant the men in the Radisson rather than placing them in available permanent shelters as Mayor Bill DeBlasio has previously announced. We believe the City selected the Radisson as the relocation placement in an attempt to skip the legal procedures we are entitled to as they quietly start the process of making it a permanent shelter. If the Judge orders the City to stop in their tracks, keeping the Radisson from becoming a permanent shelter will naturally become our next focus.
If Justice James denies the preliminary injunction on Monday, allowing the move to initiate while she decides the overall case, Downtown New Yorkers has the right to immediately appeal the decision and ask a higher court to extend the TRO until the judge reaches her final decision.
If Justice James decides in favor of the City on the merits of the case, Downtown New Yorkers, Inc. will immediately file an appeal, and ask that the City be prevented from moving the men into the Radisson until the appeal is resolved. This process could take many months, perhaps stretching well into 2021. One of the things that the Judge has said is that if she denies the injunction and rules against the City, the men will have to be moved again. That type of scenario would be unconscionable, and we hope the City will not continue to try to keep us, or the men of the Lucerne, from having our day in court.
If the judge decides for Downtown New Yorkers, Inc. and the Lucerne residents, we must be prepared for the City to appeal, in which Downtown New Yorkers, Inc. will continue to fight.
Clearly, legal action is critical to this effort, and our success thus far has hinged on the support of the community. Our attorneys have fought hard to protect the rights of our community and to protect the best interests of the Lucerne residents. We ask you to support our continued effort as we enter a decisive phase of the litigation. Without continued financial support, the fight cannot go on. If you have not donated yet, we are counting on you to do so now. Please direct your generous donations to Downtown New Yorkers by visiting our website at downtownnewyorkers.org/donations