Billionaires’ Row homeless shelter opens after years of battle by Manhattan residents

Manhattan

MIDTOWN MANHATTAN — Some of the city’s richest residents are now living right by newly opened homeless shelter.

Some of the world’s wealthiest live in penthouses worth tens of millions of dollars on Manhattan’s Billionaires’ Row and now, standing in the shadow down on ground level, former Park Savoy Hotel just reopened last week as a men’s homeless shelter on West 58th Street near Seventh Avenue.

Area resident Chantelle Lane, and others like her, are concerned.

“As someone who takes my dog out early in the morning and late at night, I have been approached,” Lane said. “I have been grabbed and I am not excited about having a shelter on this street.”

The Department of Homeless Services says it will be an employment shelter focused on supporting those who currently have a job or are actively seeking work.

Westhab is the nonprofit operating the shelter and Chief Operating Officer Jim Coughlin tells PIX11 News news in a statement in part:

“We look forward to delivering quality support services, job training and placement, and a pathway to permanent housing placement for every individual that comes through our doors, as well as being a good neighbor and working collaboratively with local residents and businesses.”

The building has capacity to house 140 men and only a handful have moved in so far.

The West 58th Street Coalition has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting against the shelter in court for the last four years.

Residents say it’s not only a safety concern, but a quality of life issue too.

“It’s a sad situation that we purchased somewhere where we felt like would be a safe place to have a family and for us to kind of grow and it’s just really declined,” Lane said.

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