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Author Topic: High end homeless shelter  (Read 7160 times)

Offline Billz1981

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High end homeless shelter
« on: June 04, 2009, 02:24:32 PM »
While I'm all for a shelter system to support those who need help, I think this move is pretty tone deaf on the part of DHS officials: http://www.nydailynews.com/real_estate/2009/06/04/2009-06-04_city_turns_upscale_building_into_homeless_shelter.html

What about middle class people who would be glad to rent those units at similar rates?

Offline casicua

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Re: High end homeless shelter
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2009, 02:53:13 PM »
That is outrageous- especially given the cost of these units:
$2700/Month! You mean to tell me that tax money can't be more efficiently allocated to help homeless people?


I think one neighbor resident said it best:

Quote
"I'm a hardworking taxpayer, and I don't think homeless people should be living better than me," fumed Desmond John, 35, a window salesman who wanted to rent one of the fancy apartments. "They said it's not for rent. It's a shelter. I was shocked."

Offline Alison

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Re: High end homeless shelter
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2009, 02:59:39 PM »
At $2700/month, I can sublet my awesome (top floor, sunny, spacious, all that jazz) 2BR to the city, and have enough left over to get a pretty good 1BR closer to the train.
What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?

Offline neo11

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Re: High end homeless shelter
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2009, 03:44:15 PM »
What happened?  I thought the city (and state) was having a budget crisis.  The same one that has resulted in cuts in so many vital services, higher mass transit fares, higher taxes (unless you're rich), and thousands of layoffs from city government jobs.  It's amazing how Mayor Gloomberg and the mini-Gloombergs he's dispatched in the various city agencies are able to find the money to pay for such things as upscale condos for the homeless, as well as the waterfall "art" project last year, but can't find the money to fund mass transit, keep those city workers, give raises to teachers, police, fire, etc., repair the city's decaying (and sometimes dangerous) roads, maintain vital services, etc.

But as always, people will get impressed with the slick advertising and the billions and will re-elect Gloomberg in November...

Offline Harlan

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Re: High end homeless shelter
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2009, 04:25:30 PM »
Does anyone know how much per night the city pays for housing + services at other locations? The $90/night includes "social services, housing help and job counseling designed to get families back on their feet." I don't really care how much the units would rent for on the open market, I just care if the city is getting a decent deal from the non-profit that rented the building and is offering the support services. This article doesn't really answer those questions, so I'm going to reserve judgment until I have some context.

Offline amandax

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Re: High end homeless shelter
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2009, 04:50:55 PM »
I just wanted to point out that these units are in Crown Heights. That neighborhood was an iffy bet for those developers to build such fancy co-ops. Not many people who would have that kind of money to spend would want to live there. The article said that they were vacant because no one was buying them. I wonder if it's worse for that community to have a big vacant building attracting who knows who to squat there, fall into disrepair, be abandoned, or set on fire (as many developers do when their bets don't turn out and they want the insurance- see the Bronx fires in the 80s) or have some of that community's homeless helped out and off their streets in a supervised and structured place? Just playing devil's advocate. I do think $2700 a month is a bit much and am more pissed that the developer who made a bad decision by building something in a fringe neighborhood when he wasn't sure there was demand there in the first place is making out so well in this.

Offline Billz1981

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Re: High end homeless shelter
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2009, 05:21:15 PM »
I do think $2700 a month is a bit much and am more pissed that the developer who made a bad decision by building something in a fringe neighborhood when he wasn't sure there was demand there in the first place is making out so well in this.

That's what happens when we allow the government to intervene in a free market.  By rights, the developer should have had to come up with something to do with those units on his own.  As someone pointed out in the comments on the original article, once he has taken in the hefty fees from the city, he is free to sell the units after the deal expires.

Offline 28Grand

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Re: High end homeless shelter
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2009, 05:27:51 PM »
I can see how this can cause outrage, it aggravates me, but the city has an obligation to house homeless families, especially those in need of immediate shelter. It's not as easy to find places for them. I mean how many hotels in the city offer rooms for $90 per night? Many landlords will not rent to the homeless unless the city sweetens the pot.

Shelters are supposed to be used for temporary accommodation until more permananet housing can be found so more than more family will benefit from these apartments -- at least that how it's supposed to work.

Believe it or not this is an improvement to what went on in the 80s and 90s when the city spents millions to warehouse families in derelict, rat infested single room hotels.



Offline amandax

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Re: High end homeless shelter
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2009, 05:36:59 PM »
That's what happens when we allow the government to intervene in a free market.  By rights, the developer should have had to come up with something to do with those units on his own.  As someone pointed out in the comments on the original article, once he has taken in the hefty fees from the city, he is free to sell the units after the deal expires.

You can buy a single family house in Crown Heights for that much. You can buy a freakin' brownstone there for 600k. No one is going to buy condos there for 300k. I've seen time and time again what developers do when they can't sell buildings. They strip them and burn them to the ground to collect the insurance. Thank God the government is starting to intervene in the free market. The lack of intervention is what got us to this point in the first place. I'm sure we're just going to have to agree to disagree there.

Offline Billz1981

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Re: High end homeless shelter
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2009, 05:53:09 PM »
Thank God the government is starting to intervene in the free market.
That leads to a crisis of definition.

The lack of intervention is what got us to this point in the first place. I'm sure we're just going to have to agree to disagree there.

That's the official populist line these days, I guess.

Offline Billz1981

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Re: High end homeless shelter
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2009, 06:00:04 PM »
I can see how this can cause outrage, it aggravates me, but the city has an obligation to house homeless families, especially those in need of immediate shelter. It's not as easy to find places for them. I mean how many hotels in the city offer rooms for $90 per night? Many landlords will not rent to the homeless unless the city sweetens the pot.

Shelters are supposed to be used for temporary accommodation until more permananet housing can be found so more than more family will benefit from these apartments -- at least that how it's supposed to work.

Believe it or not this is an improvement to what went on in the 80s and 90s when the city spents millions to warehouse families in derelict, rat infested single room hotels.


To me, it's a violation of the public trust.  If we were to house these people more cheaply, we would be able to help greater numbers.  And philosophically, I get very uncomfortable at the notion that the city (or we as tax payers) are obligated to help anyone.  We should want to help people because that is one of the basic drives of humanity.  But when it becomes an obligation, there is little incentive to get off the public dole, or to stop being a tax eater.  To say nothing of the fairness of the government taking what is not theirs via taxes and making us pay a surcharge to redistribute what we've worked for. 

Though I guess we're only bound to see more redistribution these days, given the tide in Washington.  It seems that most economic decisions are made with little consideration of economics.  I'll just have to wait patiently and profit as best I can off the sun bleached bones when it all settles out.   :evil:

Offline 28Grand

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Re: High end homeless shelter
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2009, 06:33:10 PM »
I don’t want to get into a long debate over whether the government should have a social policy and help those in need because we obviously have differing viewpoints. We had this discussion before and taxpayer money is used on all sorts things that you may feel appropriate and I do not and vice versa.

I’m as aggravated as you are about this particular story but I have no problem with putting people in need in these apartments. I’m more bothered trying to decide is this just a case of the developer making a good deal or is it greed? In the end it seems like another government handout -- to private business.

Poor people have a right to public trust as much as the middle class or the wealthy. If part of that trust involves the government helping house people who find themselves in need, I can’t see how spending on housing can be classified as intervening in the free market unless you classify all government spending as an intervention.

How do you suggest the city find cheaper housing? That’s the first thing that comes into my mind too but there never seems to be an answer. The city should manage better yes but on the other hand, people should feel a duty to be good citizens and not take advantage -- by not taking housing when they aren’t truly in need and by not overcharging for it.

I agree with Harlan that some context is needed. I am very skeptical on the classification of the building as luxury, given the location and the suggested sale prices. I mean look at the Pistilli buildings, they are promoted as ‘luxury’ with top end finishings and by what I read in other threads, I’m not impressed.

(And speaking of the Pistilli buildings, I was criticized in other threads for insisting that we as a community should support the new owners and tenants of those buildings to ensure their success -- now you know why.)

Offline casicua

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Re: High end homeless shelter
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2009, 06:47:55 PM »
That's what happens when we allow the government to intervene in a free market.  By rights, the developer should have had to come up with something to do with those units on his own.  As someone pointed out in the comments on the original article, once he has taken in the hefty fees from the city, he is free to sell the units after the deal expires.

I wouldn't necessarily draw the conclusion that government shouldn't intervene. What I would draw is a heftier need for accountability and regulation. I think homeless people certainly need housing, and when times are really tough, it is important that the safety net be there for them-which really can only be provided by government programs. If anything, this points out to me the need for these types of programs to constantly be under the public eye to ensure that we all know our tax dollars are not going to finance government aid that allows for homeless people to live better than us working taxpayers do.

Offline neo11

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Re: High end homeless shelter
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2009, 07:54:59 PM »
I don’t want to get into a long debate over whether the government should have a social policy and help those in need because we obviously have differing viewpoints. We had this discussion before and taxpayer money is used on all sorts things that you may feel appropriate and I do not and vice versa.

I’m as aggravated as you are about this particular story but I have no problem with putting people in need in these apartments. I’m more bothered trying to decide is this just a case of the developer making a good deal or is it greed? In the end it seems like another government handout -- to private business.

Poor people have a right to public trust as much as the middle class or the wealthy. If part of that trust involves the government helping house people who find themselves in need, I can’t see how spending on housing can be classified as intervening in the free market unless you classify all government spending as an intervention.

How do you suggest the city find cheaper housing? That’s the first thing that comes into my mind too but there never seems to be an answer. The city should manage better yes but on the other hand, people should feel a duty to be good citizens and not take advantage -- by not taking housing when they aren’t truly in need and by not overcharging for it.

I agree with Harlan that some context is needed. I am very skeptical on the classification of the building as luxury, given the location and the suggested sale prices. I mean look at the Pistilli buildings, they are promoted as ‘luxury’ with top end finishings and by what I read in other threads, I’m not impressed.

(And speaking of the Pistilli buildings, I was criticized in other threads for insisting that we as a community should support the new owners and tenants of those buildings to ensure their success -- now you know why.)

But how do you know there aren't cheaper options out there?  Surely there's many older apartment buildings out there.  And hotels?  Prices have fallen drastically since the downturn.  At a recent conference I attended at a well-known Midtown Manhattan hotel in a very central location, regular room rates for a double room were $99 back in March.  This was not the special conference rate, by the way, but the rate offered through the hotel's website! 

Filling up these newly built but vacant condos and apartments reeks of a city government bailout of condo developers.  With so many other services being cut, people being fired, taxes being increased, surely there's many, many better uses for that money.  But it seems like Gloomberg and his administration is, as always, untouchable.

Offline Harlan

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Re: High end homeless shelter
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2009, 08:35:18 PM »
But how do you know there aren't cheaper options out there? 

We don't. That's why I'm reserving judgment for now. This could be a scandal. Or it could be a good deal for the city. I have no way of knowing, because I don't know anything at all about the city's costs to get the same services elsewhere. All of you who are judging this project without knowledge are playing into the tabloid journalism. Don't you question anything you read?

Or are you just unhappy because poor people get something nice for a change?

Seriously, think about your motivations and why you're outraged. What aspect of the story outrages you?


 

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