A Tale of Two Homeless Shelters: How the UWS and the Bronx Are Still Worlds Apart

It’s not as bad as it sounds, these Upper West Siders swear.

It’s nothing personal, nothing against the homeless. It’s just, the area is so flooded with supportive housing, adding another shelter will overwhelm the Manhattan Valley neighborhood, as DNAinfo reports.

Nonprofit Samaritan Village wants to open the homeless facility in a building that currently houses the Hotel Alexander, one of dozens of Upper West Side hotels forced out of business by a new law that outlaws using single-room occupancy buildings, known as SROs, as hotels.

But some neighbors say there are already too many facilities serving homeless, drug addicts and mentally ill people in their neighborhood, and fear another shelter will attract even more people. “Everybody is in favor of affordable housing,” said West 94th Street resident Aaron Biller. “(But) we have compassion fatigue. We shouldn’t be the only place the city comes to.”

Whether or not the shelter ultimately opens, these irked Upper West Siders should consider themselves lucky. After all, they could be living in the Bronx.

In the Highbridge neighborhood, an area that is still largely trapped in 1970s New York, the city converted a shelter recently without even asking anyone, according to the Daily News.

Highbridge residents claim the men now living in the former Family Stadium Center hang out on the corner, drinking and catcalling passers-by. They also say that when the men miss 10 p.m. curfew, they sleep in their backyards. There are claims of drug use.

“They’re out here at all hours of the night, creeping around and you don’t know what they’re going to do,” said Rhodesia Jones, 30, a mother of three who lives around the corner from the shelter. “They’re always either smoking, drinking or looking in someone’s window.”

Talk about entitlement programs.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @mc_nyo

A Tale of Two Homeless Shelters: How the UWS and the Bronx Are Still Worlds Apart