The city backed out of a proposed homeless shelter in a vacant Chinatown hotel Monday, officials said.
It is the second shelter to be canceled by the city in the last week, following the city’s decision to abandon a proposed “Safe Haven” shelter at 47 Madison St. in Chinatown.
“After reviewing planned shelter sites scheduled to open in Chinatown, we have decided to re-evaluate this shelter capacity to an area with fewer services and shelter for those experiencing unsheltered homelessness,” the Department of Social Services said in a statement. “Our goal is always to work with communities to understand their needs and equitably distribute shelters across all five boroughs to serve our most vulnerable New Yorkers.”
The move came after pushback from residents and the local community board.
On April 26, Manhattan Community Board 2 voted 37-6 against recommending the transformation of the hotel into a shelter.
Homeless advocacy organization Open Hearts Initiative slammed the city for their decision.
"For the administration to recklessly sweep people off the streets and subways while taking away the low-barrier options they are touting to encourage people to come inside is stunningly cruel," said Corinne Low, the executive director of the Open Hearts Initiative. "It shows a callous disregard for the well-being of the homeless New Yorkers who Mayor Adams supposedly wants to help,"
The hotel at 231 Grand St. was opposed by some community members over safety and quality of life concerns, with one advocacy group arguing the location should be reopened at as a hotel to encourage tourism in Chinatown.
“It brought tourist dollars to the city. With tourism returning to New York City, it is vitally important to keep this hotel open to serve our tourism needs,” the Alliance for Community Preservation and Betterment said in a statement Monday. “When Covid-19 hit in early 2020, Chinatown suffered not only from the lockdown and other protocols but from an explosive rise in hate crimes. Our community continues to endure deteriorating neighborhood conditions, worsening public safety, and a decline in business and tourism.”
Reports of hate crimes against Asian New Yorkers jumped 343% between 2020 and 2021, according to the NYPD. The 241 Grand St. location is just feet away from the apartment of Christina Yuna Lee, a woman stabbed to death after a man followed her back to her Chrystie Street apartment in February, according to police.
The alliance is a project of Homecrest Community Services, a nonprofit based in Brooklyn that provides social services for seniors and immigrant families. The project recruited the assistance of influential public relations firm George Arzt Communications in their fight to prevent the shelters from opening