Homeless Shelter Fight Brewing In Lower Manhattan

Chelsea Residents Upset Over Size Of Proposed Facility

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Controversy over a new homeless shelter has neighbors choosing sides in Chelsea.

As CBS 2’s Don Dahler reports, the fight isn’t about where the shelter is being built, but whether the people building it were honest about their plans.

One block of 25th street in Chelsea is an eclectic mix of galleries, vintage clothing shops, coffee bars, and apartments.

1010 WINS’ John Montone reports: Will The Area Become A ‘Dead Zone?’

But at least 40 neighbors are complaining about one building in particular, which the Bowery Residents’ Committee is renovating to become a 12-story homeless shelter. When completed it will contain a 328-bed shelter and crisis center for people with chemical dependency.

Some of the neighbors said they have no problem with a homeless shelter going up, just not one this big.

“I’m very upset about this,” said area resident Maggie Gallagher-Lilly. “There’s no reason that we need to have a 328-bed shelter in our neighborhood when there’s 800 beds at Bellevue. So this is all within the same precinct. How are they ever going to manage all these homeless people?”

Gallagher-Lilly and other neighbors said they were misled over how many people the shelter would house.

“Everyone in the neighborhood is for helping the homeless. That’s not the issue. The issue is the size of it. The city itself has regulations, charters against anything over 200 beds,” David Vanden Eynden said.

Muzzy Rosenblatt runs the Bowery Residents’ Committee’s 27 programs around the city.

“There’s been some misinformation spread by anonymous people,” Rosenblatt said. “The Board of Standards and Appeals, which is the adjudicating body, has ruled unanimously 5-0, incontrovertibly in a 15-page decision, that what we’re doing is absolutely legal.”

Some of the folks who work nearby are trying to keep an open mind.

“I have kids. Sometimes they come here. It’ll be a great way to give them a lesson about life,” Pamela Wittman said.

Rosenblatt hopes to open the shelter in a few weeks, but a pending lawsuit by neighborhood residents may delay things. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has requested the city hold off allowing occupancy of the shelter until a court rules on that lawsuit.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • richard Allen

    This is NUTS

    Everyday I see in Long island city warehouses emptying out….For rent space available….why not use old office buildings and vacant space that is not near a residential area….until you have PROOF these people are not violent or criminals…….

    perfectly good buildings going to waste ….hundreds can live here and wont be a burden…..but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO they have to live in a high density area with children outside……

  • ali on 7th avenue

    This whole project is illegal – you can’t put 328 beds into one shelter without doing a ULURP review. How the zoning board classified this as a hotel needs to be investigated, clearly the drawings were falsified. How much in tax payer dollars does the BRC receive for each homeless person in their care? I heard something like $2 grand, you could rent an apartment for each person for less than that! The totally biased fair share review was written by no other than the Department of Homeless services (where Rosenblatt used to work). The scripted analysis didn’t even discuss police involvement, security concerns, or the Bellevue shelter which is in the same police presinct. Yes, the citizens of the area are very much in the right to be concerned and to be protesting!

  • Chelsea252

    Corruption and cronyism is exactly right. The shelter is illegal, plain and simple. And it is far larger than the neighborhood can or should accommodate, legally & in terms of resources. The plans were falsified, people, and slipped through on a holiday evening to try to escape notice. Your tax dollars at work.
    I’ve supported the homeless for 20 years and I’ve also voted for Christine Quinn and crossed party lines (technically) to vote for Bloomberg. I woln’t vote for Quinn in the next elecltion. This mega-shelter is illegal and wrong. You can’t warehouse mentally ill people in this way.

  • Peter

    The real stories were missed here. Thousands in Chelsea are opposed to this project. Not because of NIMBY, but because it is illegal. The BRC said this facility is a hotel comparable to the Trump Soho! It got approved in one business day – you could not contest a parking ticket that quickly! The City was not planning to do a single review until it was exposed by the WSJ and then sued by the CFC! The City refuses to do a ULURP review even though it is mandated by the law they are invoking.

    Some other plotlines – Bloomberg is stomping on Quinn in her home district. While she is out speaking against Wal-Mart opening in Queens, the second largest drug treatment facility and homeless shelter in Manhattan is opening right in her district. And she wants to be Mayor??? Hardly an example of leadership, transparency, or responsible spending by our government. She has also consistently misled her constituents – telling us that she will take a stand, and then the best she can do is write a letter to Muzzy Rosenblatt’s longtime friend and former colleague Linda Gibbs.

  • JawzNY

    Typical conservative. So happy to see others suffering. I don’t understand why Republicans hate Americans.

  • JawzNY

    The corruption and the cronyism that were exposed by Muzzy Rosenblatt constant lying and cheating are overwhelming:
    – The BRC presented 2 different plans – corridors in the plans deposited with the Department of Building were miraculously changed to nurse stations in the plans submited to the Department of Health.
    – The Department of Homeless Services (Muzzy Rosenblatt used to be the commissioner) conducted a “fair share” review where they “forgot” to consult with NYPD for their lame section about security.
    – Weirdly Muzzy Rosenblatt got a permission to put more than 200 beds in the facility in contrast to city mandate. It’s very encouraging to know that having good friends like Mayor Bloomberg can open doors to do act illegally.
    – When Muzzy Rosenblatt was asked “how can you afford taking the risk of renovating a 12 story building that might be declined for occupancy” he answered “I’m a private not for profit, my risk is none of your business”. Now where Speaker Quinn asked the Department of Homeland Services to hold the occupation until the ruling and to reduce the size of the shelter, they answered “there was such a large investment in renovation, we will have to move forward”. Where is the personal responsibility? Why is Muzzy Rosenblatt allowed to flip a coin where when it’s heads HE wins and when it’s tails WE lose.
    – With so much lying and deceit, there is a question about the ability of the liar to run a complicated venue in a residential neighborhood. Maybe we should let a more transparent organiztion provide services to the homeless in such a delicate situation.

  • Dale Auburn

    The most obvious solution is for these folks to pick another neighborhood where the shelter should go.



    • Annabelle

      Not particularly literate, are you? Clearly you were never taught how to spell or produce a proper sentence. And you only use caps, indicating you don’t have a clue about how to use punctuation either. Why not read a book for once in your life? Open that small mind. My sympathy for what it must be like to be you.

  • ham07

    Gasp…Bloomburg must be slipping. This sort of eyesore belongs in the outer boroughs. How can this happen in the chosen borough.

  • Annabelle

    Easy to talk a good talk ~ another thing entirely to live right across the street ~ if you’re honest….. How many people do you want to kick off your front door every time you walk in or out? Get real all you haughty ones! If you like it so much ~ YOU raise your kids amongst these drug addicts and mentally ill people.

  • Robert Louis Pagnani

    Looks like the NIMBY coalition is hard at work!

    • JawzNY

      Looks like the Bloomberg cronies are hard at work! Remember, today you get the approval to build an oversized shelter in a residential neighborhood, tomorrow mayor briberg will take your cigarettes away.

      By the way, we don’t have a problem with a shelter, we just want the city to be transparent about the process and act legally. This shelter is just too big for that street and stowing the homeless in a warehouse is not doing them justice either.

  • gillian

    I can’t deal with how selfish all of these people are. A shelter is hardly luxury living. Shame on all of you!

  • Barry Levine

    I bust me arse to earn a livelyhood, pay my bills, pay tax on every transaction, no matter whether I buy a hot dog or speak on a cell phone and there are people here who get free cell phones to call their grandkids who probably could not care if grandma calls or does not call, as long as she sends the check.
    I am going to quit my job, move into the homeless shelter, apply for a free cell phone with two hunert and fifty minutes, get three free meals a day, free clothes, free laundry, most likely a free TV in my private room…….that’s right PRIVATE ROOM, I don’t want to hear some guy snoring all night, and be able to sneak my girlfriend in for intelectual discussions……..not for immoral purposes!!!!

    Does anyone know where I can get an application to become a resident????

    • KPMc

      You should be careful what you sarcastically wish for and be thankful for the blessings you do have.

  • American Me

    If we deport ALL illegal people in this city the homeless population WILL decrease drastically. A homeless shelter is great IF the folks running it actually ENFORCE rules and REQUIRE the occupants to LEARN how to get and keep a job and stay away from the things that caused them to become homeless

    • Pete

      The way the economy is right now If I could find a job in my field and wasn’t being turned down because I am over 50 I’d agree but you find me one and I’ll stay away from any shelter and I AM NOT a drug addict not illegal

  • Alice

    It is crazy and unfair to see middle class people who work hard or are still out of a job and that receive NO State or Federal assistance being outpriced or economically forced to leave the city. Then to see prime real estate being used to house and rehabilitate people that do not contribute to society at all. I work and struggle to stay in the city, I was unemployed for a while, I finally got a job, but I saw many smart and brilliant friends and acquaintances make the decision to leave the city because it’s simple not economically feasible. Unchecked charity and welfare has to end at some point. Real estate in NYC is being used for the obscenely wealthy and abject poor, leaving no room for the salt of the earth/hard working/creative middle class.

  • Blaine Fiedler

    That’s a huge shelter for that tight an area. Bellevue’s location is not very developed like this Chelsea neighborhood. I foresee a lot of agita in the future.

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