homeless man
Residents opposed a plan to turn a New York City hotel into a homeless shelter Thursday, citing cost and safety reasons. Here, a homeless man sleeps in a doorway at Haussmann Boulevard in Paris, Feb. 9, 2018. Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images

Residents opposed a $60.8 million plan aimed at turning a New York City hotel into a shelter for homeless people.

According to a report by New York Daily News, a plan to turn the former Park Savoy Hotel, Midtown, NYC, was vehemently disapproved of by the people living near the hotel who said the plan was too expensive, not viable and very dangerous for the neighborhood.

A statement submitted by the president of the Coalition for West 58th Street, Suzanne Silverstein, said, “This 150 unit development which will stand as one of the city’s largest and most expensive shelter projects to date has resulted from a rigged process with predetermined outcome.”

“It has also been sprung on this community with no notice despite Mayor Bill de Blasio's 2017 promise to provide 30 days' notice or more before creating any shelter facility,” the statement added.

But, the Department of Homeless Services posed an argument regarding the cost of the contract saying “high-quality transitional housing is far more than just a room to sleep in.” It added that the department gave an appropriate notice for the construction of the shelter which would be situated around a block from One57, NYC’s costliest apartment building.

Isaac McGinn, a spokesman for the Department of Homeless Services said with reference to homeless people, “Every neighborhood across New York City has a part to play in addressing this citywide challenge.”

“We remain committed to open, ongoing engagement with the community — and we're confident that through collaborative support and compassion, we will make this the best experience it can be for these individuals as they get back on their feet,” added McGinn.

However, local elected officials stated they got to know about the plans last month from their constituents and not from the New York City Hall. The residents also complained that they received inconsistent information about the contract, the report said.

Ken Fisher, a lawyer who represented the coalition, gave a testimony on the contract saying, “The community has no reason to trust you because of the way you’ve behaved.”

Fisher also said although many people think that homeless shelters are a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) issue, people would be willing to accept such facilities if a proper notice was given. But, there were others who said a homeless shelter would be inappropriate in the neighborhood, which lies a block away from Central Park.

A resident of the area, Gloria Guido, said the neighborhood was a “tourist attraction” and was home to Central Park and a hotel, The Essex House, which has “dignitaries” and politicians as guests.

Referring to the plan, Guido added, “It’s going to degrade the neighborhood where these major hotels and businesses and homes exist.”

Helen Kim, another resident, didn’t talk about the neighborhood’s reputation but raised the issue of safety.

“I have two part time jobs on top of being a stay-at-home mom. I am not a billionaire,” said Kim. “Who will be held accountable when our store gets shoplifted, again, and when my mother-in-law gets thrown to the ground like she did a few weeks ago?”

Another resident, Janet Malpeso, claimed she was a known figure among the homeless people in the area as she always tries to assist them. But, she also talked about an incident where she was attacked in the neighborhood.

“He said hi. And I said hi. And he turned around and he was exposed and he urinated all over me and my dog,” said Malpeso.

“So, I was stunned, and I started screaming,” she added.

Marion Chase, a resident of the neighborhood, said the area shouldn’t be used to make an overtly-expensive homeless shelter only to “make a very questionable social point.”

Chase said, “You will not dismiss us with a superficial implication of affluence.”

“We deserve better to be guinea pigs in a grand social experiment or to make a cheap political point,” added Chase.