There was a good community showing last night at the CB9 sub-committee meeting concerning a new shelter that is being proposed for 1763-1771 Amsterdam Avenue.
Some of the points were:
- It’s not a done deal—negotiations between the developer and the city (DHS) continue.
- The initial lease of the building will be for 9 years.
- The figure floated as an approximate cost per unit per month ($4,000) was not disputed by the DHS staff.
- This building will house ‘families’ in 350-400 square foot studio apartments.
- Families were defined as a parent with one child, or a pregnant woman.
- DHS pushed back when asked why DHS doesn’t site shelters in wealthier neighborhoods by asking the community to suggest sites in the Upper East Side for them to consider.
- DHS claimed to have conducted a Fair Share study but failed to produce it.
- DHS claimed to have data on shelter numbers but didn’t have it at the meeting and deflected to DHS shelter counts (shelters, not beds) and refused to acknowledge any information about State or private shelters in Harlem.
- DHS was evasive when questions about how this project shifted from being promoted as an affordable housing project to becoming a homeless shelter asked
- DHS was unwilling to give contract details, dollar amounts, or even estimates of how much the 9-year lease was worth.