Opinion: Help Not Hotels for FiDi Homeless

To the Editor:

I'm a local parent who lives on Wall Street with my two sons, 13 and 9.  I have lived in the area since 2006.  I was worried to learn yesterday of reports that the Mayor proposes to relocate the population of homeless men currently housed at the Lucerne on the UWS down to Wall Street. 


The proposed move is an awkward fit, at best, and carries with it a near certainty of an increase in public disturbances and crime. This, in one of the city's fastest-growing residential neighborhoods, which has already shouldered more than its share of increased homeless population during the Covid crisis, and has lost much of its luster due to our Mayor's cuts in garbage pickup and landscaping.  These are not families the Mayor is proposing to "integrate" - these are single men in desperate need of healthcare and job training skills. A similar experiment failed on the UWS at the Lucerne, with dismaying tales of public urination/defecation and increased crime; why should it succeed in an equally residential neighborhood downtown?


We FiDi mothers have been the pioneers in raising families in what was once a primarily business/tourist destination. We will not stand quietly while the administration imposes such a blatantly dangerous situation on our families. — VICKI RAIKES 


To the Editor:

I have great compassion for the homeless but moving them in a few blocks from my son where drug use was clear is not appropriate. Next week kids are set to head to school and I can name at least 6 schools and day cares within 6 blocks or less of where the failing Mayor wants to place the Lucerne residents... after 9/11 millions of dollars were spent to redefine the neighborhood and it worked, now is not the time to reverse course. What hasn't been discussed is these hotels down here (yes, there are already 2) have already been an epic failure. Pictures I have taken over the months have not even shown the worst of it, I couldn’t bring myself to take a picture of a person pooping in a planter or walking incoherently with bodily waste running down their pants. These human beings deserve help not a hotel room with no medical and no counseling. And residents deserve to raise their kids without fear of witnessing drug use and homeless individuals who are ill screaming day and night (oh yes 4am) yelling obscenities on every corner. They are ill, they need help not a hotel.  Pot is literally ignored now. 

The Mayor doesn’t get it. People are leaving because they can’t raise their children in a safe and clean place. I welcome Jerry Seinfeld to walk the dog with me along the water by the Seaport and pass a dozen homeless situations that are cruel to the individual experiencing them and unfair to the residents and children of this once great City! It’s not great right now, it’s just not. The Mayor is spending millions on the hotels and overpriced meals, money that could be better spent on a real shelter, real job services. Hotels are not fixes, they are bandaids on a wound that needs stitches, even surgery.  He has gone through every Commissioner in the City and replaced with a lesser experienced fill in. Wake up Mr. Dishonor, we will leave because you have failed. Period. We will stay because we fight for our own, we’ll override your poor decisions as citizens who care. The Fidi Moms are full of grit and compassion, but give our kids a worse experience in this neighborhood and we will not stand for itA FIDI MOM