NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A judge ruled Wednesday a group of homeless men living at the Lucerne Hotel must leave following pushback from Upper West Side residents.

The West Side Community Organization, which opposed the shelter, released a statement after the ruling, calling on the community to “heal our divisions.”

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“We hope that once the [Department of Homeless Services] clients are moved from their unsuitable temporary residence at the Lucerne Hotel to a permanent facility in FiDi, the community on the Upper West Side can heal our divisions and continue to work towards solutions for the city’s homeless during what has been a difficult time for all of us,” the statement read.

The group’s high-profile lawyer, Randy Mastro, applauded the decision, as well.

“Our efforts were united: neighbors of the Lucerne, residents of the Upper West Side, and DHS clients, themselves, stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the city’s lawyers in court to make this move happen,” he said in a statement. “The Manhattan Supreme Court has done right by this neighborhood and this vulnerable population.”

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For months, the Lucerne has been the subject of controversy. During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the men were moved out of dorm-style shelters so they could isolate in single rooms.

Upper West Side residents were divided over them being in the neighborhood. Some complained about violence, public urination and garbage. Others said it was too late to move the men, since they had already been set up with services in the area.

Web Extra: Read the ruling (pdf)

temporary restraining order was granted last month, allowing the men to stay in the hotel until the court made its final decision.

The City Law Department said Wednesday’s ruling will allow the city to continue providing critical services in the way it believes is most effective. The city is planning an orderly phase-out from the Lucerne to the Radisson Hotel in the Financial District after Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, Lucerne resident Peter Herbert told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes he wants to move.

“Everybody got their own room there. It’s bigger, it’s more recreation space there. I think it’s a good idea for everybody, not just myself, for everybody,” Herbert said.

Steven Hackett, however, said he wants to stay, adding the men at the Lucerne have been wrongly painted with a broad brush.

“We’re comfortable here. You have to understand, everyone there is not the same,” Hackett said.

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