An affluent community wards off a new city homeless shelter – for now

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NEW YORK -- Mayor Bill de Blasio’s latest shelter plan, dubbed “turning the tide on homelessness," includes opening 90 new shelters across the city.

The city usually meets strong community opposition every step of the way. But unlike other outer borough neighborhoods, where the city rolls it way to opening a shelter, here, in the shadows of some of the priciest real estate in the entire country, residents just scored a significant legal victory against the city.

A brand new metal detector, security cameras, and city work permit notices gives it all away; the former Park Savoy Hotel in Manhattan, creeping ever closer to completing its transformation into a city homeless shelter.

But the grand opening on West 58th Street – dubbed “Billionaire’s Row” – will have to wait, thanks to an appellate court victory - scored by local residents.

For months now, residents in this affluent neighborhood have been protesting the city’s decision to open up a men’s only shelter on this block, which the city argues is based on extensive research…and a documented homeless population in this area.

The coalition used its financial resources to wage dual arguments in court…first that a shelter here would put the community’s safety at risk, along with the assertion that the building itself, is a fire safety hazard.

If the community safety argument sounds familiar – that’s because we just covered city shelter vs. community battle just like this one, in College Point, Queens.

Back in Manhattan, a spokesman for the New York City Law Department tells PIX11 in a statement, “We believe the lower court was correct in denying the injunction and once the appeals panel gets a full briefing that decision will stand.”

City homeless officials say both the city’s fire and building departments have approved former hotel building for use as a shelter, adding the shelter plan also included upgrading the sprinkler system, additional smoke detectors, dozens of security cameras, and 24/7 security.

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