Meanwhile, a vocal group of neighbors on the Upper West Side objected to the use of nearby hotels to shelter people experiencing homelessness, even in the midst of a pandemic. They commiserated about so-called “quality of life” issues in a Facebook group and complained to the media, often using inflammatory and racist language while ignoring the humanity of their homeless neighbors. They also raised funds and hired a well-connected lawyer to threaten to sue the City unless the homeless people were ejected from the neighborhood’s hotels. (Read more here.)
In September, the Mayor announced his intention to move homeless people out of the Lucerne Hotel on the Upper West Side and another hotel in Queens, which the NIMBY group hailed as a victory. The single adults were to be moved from these hotels into facilities currently sheltering families, like the Harmonia shelter in Midtown. The Mayor later halted this move in response to activism from homeless New Yorkers and advocates.
Here’s how Harmonia residents felt about being at risk of abrupt ejection from their shelter.