NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Homeless men fighting to stay in Upper West Side hotel have won a court battle to stay.
“We won! It’s amazing,” said Larry Thomas.
As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reports, Thomas is one of more than 200 homeless men living at the Lucerne Hotel on the Upper West Side. Over the weekend, they lawyered up to fight the city from transferring them to another shelter, and they won – at least for now.
“People always tell me it’s hard to beat City Hall. But we did it,” Thomas said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered the more than 230 homeless men living at the Lucerne to be transferred to a temporary shelter at the Radisson in the Financial District after people in the community complained about safety issues and hired an attorney to have the city move the men out.
“My heart goes out to them but I think this move is better than the others,” said Upper West Side resident Erica Gerson.
A Lower Manhattan group went to court to stop the shelter from opening in their neighborhood, but lost.
“We expect to get sued and we expect to win and we overwhelmingly do win,” de Blasio said.
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But not Monday. As locals rallied to support the shelter residents, a judge ruled in favor of the homeless tenants, granting their request for a temporary restraining order, preventing the city from moving them out of the Lucerne.
Many in the community celebrated the news.
“We don’t got no place to live. We don’t got no place to go. So that victory right there is good for us,” said shelter resident Victor Cordova. “And we think it’s about time that they got to rest their heads.”
Michael Hiller fought their case in court.
“As a lawyer there’s nothing better than being in court and arguing about something you believe in for people who really deserve the help. And that is what happened today,” he said.
Shelter residents will be able to stay at the Lucerne until at least November 16th. That’s when their attorney will be back in court to defend their case.
The city says it is evaluating its legal options and will continue pursuing the move to the Financial District.
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