Tiffanie Mondello is she’s scrambling to pack her bags after living in the Harmonia Shelter in Midtown for nearly three years.
“They’re not telling us when we’re going, where we’re going, what’s going to happen when we get there,” Mondello said.
She told NY1 that other families are panicking too after they were told they’d be transferred out, with little notice.
Residents were told they had to put their possesions into two bags upon learning they were being forced to move.
“You can’t just keep pushing us down, there’s nothing wrong with — we had a downfall and we need help to get back up,” Mondello added.
The Legal Aid Society said people in the Harmonia Shelter are being forced out so men from the Lucerne Hotel on the Upper West Side can move in.
The group is preparing a lawsuit against the city for what they call a “knee-jerk capitulation,” putting homeless New Yorkers, many disabled, at risk.
Glenda Harris said she has medical equipment to move.
“What’s going through my mind is why. Why? Okay. People trying to get out of here. Why disrupt them for trying to get out of here?” Harris said.
The city’s decision to move men into the Lucerne during the pandemic caused an uproar on the Upper West Side.
Some residents threatened to sue, citing quality of life concerns and safety issues. But people who live at the Harmonia said they should not be punished for that.
The Department of Homeless Services said families are transferring to alternative family shelter locations, where they will continue to receive services and support.
“We are coordinating closely with our provider partners, who are doing extraordinary work under challenging circumstances, to ensure all the families who we serve continue to receive the shelter and supports they need as they get back on their feet—while also providing the protections offered by non-congregate units to the single adult individuals who we are relocating,” they said in a statement, adding, “No one will be turned out into the streets under any circumstance.”
In the meantime, the mayor said that with the worst of the pandemic behind us, it’s time to get people out of hotels — and insists that was always the city’s plan.
A rally is planned for Friday afternoon at the Harmonia Shelter.