Sunday, October 9, 2016
DHS pulls a fast one on Riverdale residents
From Riverdale Press:
The dozens of homeless men whom the city had promised to relocate from the Van Cortlandt Motel by late September are now gone – only to have been replaced by homeless parents with children, in a reshuffle that prompted an outcry from local residents, politicians and community activists.
Community Board 8 voted unanimously on Sept. 29 to approve a resolution demanding the resignation of city officials it blamed for a “material misrepresentations of facts” – the head of New York’s Department of Homeless Services, Steven Banks, and his deputy Matthew Borden. Several speakers at the meeting accused the officials of having “lied.” The resolution also called for an investigation and for an end to the motel’s use as a homeless shelter.
City officials denied having lied and argued that the arrival of homeless families was prompted by the city’s attempt to find temporary housing for an influx of homeless New Yorkers this summer.
The Van Cortlandt Motel has long been known as a place for assignations and suspected drug use, and linked to violent crimes and theft. It also sits next door to a home for people with mental health problems, the Riverdale Manor, and is just across Broadway from Van Cortlandt Park.
But the main focus of the outrage at the board meeting was the city’s apparent failure to notify the community about placing homeless families at the motel – a charge of surreptitiousness that officials tried to refute, but with little apparent success.