NEW YORK – The city has canceled plans to open a homeless shelter at 47 Madison Street in Chinatown, according to a statement from the Department of Social Services.
“After reviewing planned shelter sites scheduled to open in Chinatown, we have decided to re-site this shelter capacity to an area with fewer services and shelter for those experiencing unsheltered homelessness,” said Julia Savel, a spokesperson from the Department of Homeless Services.
The shelter at 47 Madison Street was supposed to be a “Safe Haven” shelter, DSS said. The city in the past has described Safe Haven sites as “programs specifically tailored for individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness who may be resistant to accepting or who may not be best served by other services.”
According to DSS sources, the shelter at 47 Madison Street was intended to be a 49-bed site.
DSS sources said the agency will start an emphasis on buildings that need “minor renovation work,” saying the Madison Street shelter would have required “acquisition, demolition, and construction at a substantial cost,” and two to three years of work, to open.
The cancellation of the shelter comes amid resistance to another proposed shelter in Chinatown. Community Board 2 in Lower Manhattan passed a resolution Tuesday opposing the plan to transform a vacant hotel at 231 Grand Street into a homeless shelter. The final vote was 37-6.
“Our goal is always to work with communities to understand their needs, equitably distribute shelters, and prioritize sites that can come online in a timely way to serve our most vulnerable New Yorkers,” Savel said.
Corinne Low, executive director of the Open Hearts Initiative, an organization that advocates for the homeless, issued a statement criticizing the cancellation of the Madison Street shelter, as well as the closure of a single-room site at the Financial District’s Radisson Hotel at 52 William Street in June.
“How does Mayor Adams expect to meet his commitment to fund 1,400 Safe Havens and stabilization beds if he is closing down and failing to move forward with sites that already exist or are in the works?” Low said said. “And what message does it send to the unsheltered New Yorkers who the city is trying to convince to come inside when the city abandons the types of sites they are touting?”