All are welcome in the Upper West Side

All are welcome in the Upper West Side

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Daphna Ezrachi started this petition to Councilmember Helen Rosenthal

We, the undersigned residents of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, welcome those who have recently moved into vacant hotels in our neighborhood. In this time of great need and hardship, we commend the partnership between homeless services nonprofits and local hotels. As shelters have had difficulty abiding by social-distancing and other health guidelines, the COVID-19 pandemic has badly hurt individuals who are currently experiencing homelessness. We applaud the ongoing efforts to ease these difficulties by opening new shelters and by seeking out partnerships with local hotels. (For reporting on this, see the West Side Rag and other local news outlets.)

We have chosen to pen this letter as it has been reported that some residents of our neighborhood oppose the siting of the shelters in our local hotels. It is important that it be known that these individuals do not speak for all Upper West Siders. While we recognize that our neighbors have legitimate fears and concerns, we urge them to act in the name of compassion and justice. Excluding people from specific neighborhoods is not a solution for homelessness, drug use, or public safety issues. We must instead strengthen the nonprofits that are working with our local hotels: Project Renewal (operating the shelter at the Lucerne), the Center for Urban Community Services (operating the shelter at the Belnord), and Help USA (operating the shelter at the Belleclaire). And we must advocate for the City agencies tasked with housing and supporting New York’s most vulnerable populations. 

On paper, our neighborhood is one of the most progressive districts in the country; we cannot let NIMBYism (“Not In My Back Yard”) trump the values that we claim to profess. It is a simple fact that New Yorkers in shelters are individuals who need our support. We must help the City open and operate shelters for all who need them, and especially for those who are all too often barred from receiving any federal assistance, including housing assistance.

We look forward to supporting local businesses, nonprofits, and our political leaders as they navigate the extreme challenges raised by this pandemic. We commend the cooperation between homeless services and local hotels. And we welcome the new shelter residents to our neighborhood.

We encourage all who signed this petition to reach out to our Council Member, Helen Rosenthal (@HelenRosenthal) and express their support to her as well. 

[Disclaimer: One of the authors of this petition, Daphna Ezrachi, is an employee of the City of New York and that the opinions expressed in the letter are hers alone.]

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!