Friday, August 5 2022

Safe Shelters are a type of shelter that aims to help people return to stable housing after living on the streets, providing on-site mental health, addictions, and career counseling services. Residents have their own private rooms, rather than large, often dangerous and overcrowded dormitories.

The non-profit service provider Caring for the homeless assured the local community council that the facility will have multilingual staff and will begin offering beds to people currently sleeping on the streets of Chinatown when it opens in 2023. Stetzer said many homeless men Neighborhood shelter had ties to Chinatown and won’t accept shelter beds, but would consider leaving the streets if offered a bed in a safe shelter in a neighborhood they know.

“We want them to take steps to accept the services,” Stetzer said. “We need transitional housing. For some people, successfully securing permanent housing is a very important step.

To those who argue that Chinatown is oversaturated with shelters, Stetzer said that of the 11 shelters and 2 shelters on Community Board 3, most are located in the East Village, not Chinatown.

“A lot of people don’t even know they’re there,” she said.

By the end of the Lunar New Year celebration on Monday, Concerned Citizens of East Broadway had raised $100,000 towards its $300,000 goal, to fund a lawsuit against the city, organizers said; the latest neighborhood to threaten legal action against the city for blocking proposed shelters. In attendance were John Catsimatidis, Curtis Sliwa and Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, along with dozens of business leaders and Chinatown residents.

Levine, who left the event before speakers openly began raising money to block the shelter, said in a follow-up interview with WNYC/Gothamist that he didn’t know the shelter issue was part of the event’s focus, although he knows that many Chinatown leaders are opposed to the installation.

“There’s no doubt that we need this option for a lot of people who aren’t housed on the streets,” Levine said, who campaigned on a platform that included explicit support for the Safe Haven model. “But I listen to the community pushing back on this exact location.”

Levine said he was concerned about the overcrowding of some neighborhoods with shelters and said he would be notified of the facility by the Department of Homeless Services in the coming weeks.

The same group organized a similar event, presented as a anti-Asian hate rally after Michelle Go’s murder, outside the proposed refuge site, calling for the project to be halted. While anti-Asian hate crimes have surged in the city over the past year, Chinatown had only tracked four biased attacks in 2021, according to 5th Ward Commander Deputy Inspector Paul J Zangrilli, and has found an overall decrease in major crime two years in a row. Still, Asian groups in the city say biased attacks often go unreported and official figures can be misleading.

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