After losing a key legal battle that paved the way for nearly 200 homeless men to be evicted from the Lucerne Hotel on the Upper West Side, more than two dozen people rallied outside the hotel on Sunday.
A lawyer for some of the men expressed hope in the appeals process.
“We are optimistic on our chances of appeal,” said attorney Jason E. Zakei.
City officials, however, feel the city’s chances of winning are even greater.
“The lower court’s ruling made it clear the move should go forward and the petitioners have no standing to oppose it," a spokesman from the city’s law department said in a statement. "We’ve now delayed by weeks a move that is in the best interests of the men and puts the city in the best position to operate a complicated program.”
Shams DaBaron, a 51-year-old who moved into the Lucerne in late July, told NY1 he was born into the foster care system and has been homeless for much of his adult life.
DaBaron fears valuable community-based services, such as life skills programs, which are run by volunteers who come to the Lucerne, will be lost if the men are transferred downtown.
“I am so adamantly opposed to the move because I think it’s going to be detrimental to our health and wellness in so many different ways,” says DaBaron. “What we’ve established here I would like to be used as a model of how people sheltered in hotels can be.”
This past Wednesday, a New York State Supreme Court Judge dismissed an effort to hold up the city’s plan to start moving Lucerne residents from the Upper West Side to the Radisson Hotel in the Financial District.
Roxanne Ryan of the Upper West Side said while she supports finding a solution to addiction and homelessness, housing the men at the Lucerne is not the answer.
“This has not been a safe place to be walking at night, even during the day, relative to what it was a year ago,” Ryan said.
The city’s law department also tells NY1 while the motion to appeal may be well-intentioned, they believe the appellate court will affirm the lower court’s ruling.