The Real Deal New York

Posts Tagged ‘department of homeless services’

  • Gilbert Taylor and Mark Peters

    From left: DHS Commissioner Gilbert Taylor and DOI Commissioner Mark Peters

    The city’s homeless shelter system is suffering from deplorable conditions in many buildings, according to a Department of Investigation report released today.

    The report unveiled shelters in grim states of disrepair and sanitation — including a dead rat that had been left on the floor for days in one building, a urine-soaked elevator in another, a dangerously rusted stairway, and an apartment with no living room furniture and no electricity. [more]

  • From left: DHS commissioner Gilbert Taylor and Aguila Inc office at 661 Cauldwell Avenue, the Bronx

    From left: DHS commissioner Gilbert Taylor and Aguila Inc office at 661 Cauldwell Avenue, the Bronx

    A Bronx nonprofit has scored a five-year contract from the city worth $5 million to run a homeless shelter less than a year after former comptroller John Liu said it should no longer be given city money to operate such facilities.

    Liu charged the operator, Aguila Inc., with making accounting errors and allowing unsafe and unclean conditions after during an audit in October, Capital New York reported. In the audit, Liu claimed the Department of Homeless Services did not properly monitor Aguila, according to the news site. [more]

  • From left: Scott Stringer, Gilbert Taylor, Pan American Hotel at 79-00 Queens Boulevard and Westway Hotel at 71-11 Astoria Boulevard

    From left: Scott Stringer, Gilbert Taylor, Pan American Hotel at 79-00 Queens Boulevard and Westway Hotel at 71-11 Astoria Boulevard

    The Department of Homeless Services has vowed to give communities and elected officials one week’s notice before opening new homeless shelters. The announcement comes in the wake of a series of confrontations over shelters in Queens and harsh criticism from New York City comptroller Scott Stringer. [more]

  • Former Pan American Hotel

    79-00 Queens Boulevard

    Tempers flared over a newly opened homeless shelter at the former Pan American Hotel in Elmhurst, Queens flared at a meeting Monday, during which some protesters booed the facility’s elderly and homeless residents.

    Queens Community Board 4 called the meeting with the shelter operator after the Department of Homeless Services began moving people into the Queens Boulevard property without notifying the community in June. Several hundred protesters not admitted to the at-capacity meeting protested outside 79-00 Queens Boulevard, booing and yelling at residents of the Pan Am shelter to “get a job” and “pay your rent,” DNAinfo reported. [more]

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  • The owner of supposedly illegal homeless shelters on Hall Place and Southern Boulevard in the South Bronx is close to receiving approval to effectively allow him to continue operations. [more]

  • An NYC homeless shelter

    Paying rent-stabilized tenants lump sums of cash to move is a quotidian strategy for landlords eager to cash in on market-rate renters or luxury conversions. Buying out tenants only to replace them with the homeless is far more unusual. But according to the New York Times, generous city payments to house the homeless are causing more and more landlords to get into the game.
    In part because of an extreme scarcity of homeless shelters in the city, the Department of Homeless Services is willing to pay far more than the standard asking rent to house New York’s homeless population, even spending in excess of $3,000 a month for derelict rooms without a bathroom or kitchen. … [more]

  • A formerly homeless couple says their landlord is trying to kick them out of their Corona studio in an effort to renovate the building and raise the rent, the New York Daily News reported.

    The renters of a studio at 38-01 112th Street had been paying just $100 a month thanks to a subsidy from the city’s Department of Homeless Services Advantage program. But budget cuts ended that program in November 2010 and the pair have paid $983.62 for rent and utilities on time every month. Still, they say the landlord and superintendent contact them several times a week to find out when the renters plan to move out. … [more]


  • From top to bottom: Comptroller John Liu, developer Shimmie Horn. At right: 400 McGuiness Blvd.

    Comptroller John Liu and City Council members are looking into the
    Department of Homeless Services’ dealings with developer Shimmie Horn
    and his plans to convert several buildings in Brooklyn into homeless
    shelters, the New York Post and the Brooklyn Eagle reported.

    A previous Post investigation had found that Horn could earn millions
    of dollars with such projects in East New York and Brownsville
    One of the most controversial sites for these plans is at 400
    McGuiness Boulevard in Greenpoint, where the community has been protesting
    plans for a homeless shelter for the past year.


  • City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and 127 West 25th Street (building source:

    The New York City Council is planning to join in a lawsuit attempting to block the Bowery Residents Committee homeless shelter at 127 West 25th Street in Chelsea, even as the Department of Homeless Services begins relocating people to the facility, the New York Post reported.

    Yesterday, the council’s General Welfare Committee voted to allow the legislative body to join the lawsuit filed by the Chelsea Flatiron Coalition, which has long argued that the facility is too large and would pose safety issues for residents. The full council plans to vote today to permit the body to join the lawsuit. A New York Supreme Court judge rejected an injunction request submitted by opponents of shelter earlier this month. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who represents the surrounding district, was one of the most outspoken opponents of the homeless shelter and was disappointed by the ruling.

  • Two hotels that were once the target of a city lawsuit are now being paid by the Department of Homeless Services to house homeless men, according to DNAinfo. The single-room occupancy hotels, Fresh Hotel at 330 West 95th Street and Candy Hostel at 316 West 95th Street, both located between Riverside Drive and West End Avenue, house a total of 457 homeless men, according the DHS. But these establishments, in which the city is paying to cover the homeless tenants’ rent, were the target of a legal battle in 2007, when the city attempted to block the hotels from taking in tourists. … [more]

  • The city is considering doubling the capacity of the Pamoja House homeless shelter, at 357 Marcus Garvey Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyvesant, making room for 400 men, a decision that worries neighbors and advocates for the homeless, the New York Times reported. “Crowding hundreds of men onto an armory drill floor is a dangerous, unnecessary step backwards to the bad old days of the 1980s,” said Patrick Markee, a senior policy analyst with Coalition for the Homeless, in a statement. An average of 8,511 people required shelter each night in December, compared with 6,967 in December 2009, numbers not seen since the winter of 2004. … [more]

  • Residents of the Upper West Side who say their neighborhood has become a dumping ground for homeless people gathered at Community Board 7 last night to protest a planned homeless facility on West 94th Street, DNAinfo reported. If a Department of Homeless Services plan goes forward, Hotel Alexander — at 304 West 96th Street between Riverside Drive and West End Avenue — will be rented out to Samaritan Village and turned into a 200-bed transitional housing facility for single men. The board passed a resolution at last night’s meeting, calling on the city to prohibit using the building for transitional housing programs. … [more]

  • In an effort to assess its Homebase housing program, the city is denying assistance for two years to people who are behind on rent and in danger of being evicted, with researchers tracking them to see if they end up homeless. The city’s Department of Homeless Services said the study was necessary to determine whether the $23 million program is working effectively, the New York Times reported. However, some public officials and legal aid groups have denounced the study, calling it unethical and cruel, and demanding that the city help all the test subjects who had been denied assistance. “They should immediately stop this experiment,” Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said. … [more]

  • City Council member Steve Levin has spoken out against a proposed 200-person homeless shelter, slated for an occupied industrial building in Greenpoint, according to the Brooklyn Paper. The men’s shelter, which Manhattan-based group Help USA has pitched, would be located on the corner of McGuiness Boulevard and Calyer Street. While Levin has acknowledged that Greenpoint has a significant homeless population, he argues that the shelter would bring in more homeless individuals, rather than help those who already reside in the community. … [more]

  • Andrew Cuomo’s sister is looking to turn a four-story Greenpoint industrial building into one of the largest homeless shelters in Northern Brooklyn, according to the Brooklyn Paper. Maria Cuomo Cole, who is married to designer Kenneth Cole, is the executive chair of the board at HELP USA, the non-profit low-income housing builder and operator, which has already submitted a proposal for a 200-bed men’s shelter to the city, city officials said. Cole also manages the HELP Women’s Center in Brownsville, among other transitional housing facilities across the northeast. The Greenpoint location, on McGuiness Boulevard and Clay Street, would be HELP’s first in the neighborhood, and would take on clients referred by the city for “comprehensive assessments, support services and housing placement assistance.” The loft property is zoned for light manufacturing use but is currently occupied by artists and residents who might turn out to be difficult to evict, given the loft law’s recent passage. HELP representatives have been invited to speak about the plan at the next Community Board 1 meeting Sept. 15. [Brooklyn Paper]


  • In the wake of the Department of Homeless Servicesproposal to drop a rent payment requirement for lodging in city shelters, a new study shows homelessness may be an increasing concern in the city. Bronx residents say they’re most at risk for becoming homeless, compared to the other four boroughs, according to a recent study conducted by non-profit advocacy group Institute for Children and Poverty. The survey showed that one in three respondents living in the Bronx say they fear becoming homeless in the near future and that 40 percent are struggling to keep up with basic expenses, according to the New York Daily News. Recent data from the DHS suggests that fears of homelessness in the borough may be warranted — the rate of homeless Bronx residents using city shelters has climbed 10 percent over the last year, during which time the DHS added 379 new shelter units to the borough. [NYDN]


  • Needy families who receive rent vouchers will be required to give a larger share of their paycheck to cover rent aid, the Daily News reported. The city’s Department of Homeless Services asked the state for the changes earlier this year, arguing that families who receive rent vouchers, worth about $1,000 a month, need to contribute more of their paycheck toward rent. They will be required to pay 30 percent of their salary during the first year, beginning Aug. 1, and 40 percent the second year. “It’s to build good behavior because ultimately they are going to have to assume the full burden of the rent,” said Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond. Others, such as Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, fear the plan will backfire, leaving more families stuck in homeless shelters. Meanwhile, the city is weighing an option to drop the rent requirement for the working homeless to stay in shelters.[NYDN]


  • The city appears likely to drop the rule that requires homeless people with jobs to pay rent to stay in shelters, Commissioner Seth Diamond of the Department of Homeless Services testified yesterday. In place of the rule, the city would require the working homeless to deposit some of their income into a savings account that they would be allowed to keep. The Bloomberg administration pushed to implement the policy last year, stirring up intense controversy in the media and amongst homeless advocates. Diamond said the rent rule “was never about revenue for the city…it was really about building good behavior.” But, he added, “if we can do that in a better way with savings…we’re happy to do that.” [NYDN]


  • No hotel for Bellevue

    April 16, 2010 12:57PM

    There won’t be any out-of-towners checking into Bellevue anytime soon, according to the Observer, after officials put the kibosh on plans to transform the one-time psychiatric facility at 462 First Avenue between 26th and 28th streets into a hotel and conference center. The homeless shelter currently in place at the Bellevue site has been decried by community advocates as sub-standard, and Representative Carolyn Maloney said that the failure of the hotel plan should not deter other development. “It is unfortunate that the Department of Homeless Services failed to come up with a concrete plan for replacing the men’s shelter, but we should now work together to develop such a plan,” Maloney said. “Right now, the Bellevue building is in terrible shape and we should not continue to house vulnerable populations there.” … [more]

  • The city wants to crack down on the longtime practice of illegal boarding houses for the formerly homeless, where for years landlords have been charging down-on-their-luck tenants hundreds of dollars a month for a bunk bed in a run-down house. There are dozens of these kinds of illegal boarding houses, according to the city, concentrated in poor neighborhoods in Brooklyn and the Bronx. Many are overcrowded, with as many as 60 people living in a two-family home. Yesterday, the city took a decisive step in putting an end to these operations by ordering the Department of Homeless Services and staff members in non-profit shelters to stop referring homeless people to buildings that have been cited as unsafe in city inspections. Shelters that break the rules will be issued fines.


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