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Upper East Side Homeless Shelter Expected to Open by End of Year

419 East 91st Street homeless shelter

A homeless shelter at 419 East 91st Street (between York and First avenues) is finally set to open this year after several delays and changes since its initial announcement in 2021. The new building is currently under construction, but the city expects the facility to open by the end of 2024.

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According to a presentation made to the Community Board 8 Health, Seniors, Social Services Committee last week, Services for the Underserved (S:US) will now be opening the facility in partnership with the Department of Homeless Services as the first Welcome Center in Manhattan. S:US representative Jack Lynch told East Side Feed that “it will house adult men and women during the pre-assessment phase before they find long-term shelter. Unlike a Safe Haven shelter, it will not accept walk-ins on a 24-hour basis.” He also confirmed that it will be a 92-bed facility and that they expect to open in December of this year.

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The original plan for the facility was announced in January 2021 and backed by elected officials along with Community Board 8. Patch reported that the shelter was originally set to be opened in Jan. 2022 by non-profit Goddard Riverside, a community wellness organization that also partners with the nearby Stanley Isaacs Center. However, Goddard pulled out of the 91st Street project in mid-2022, telling Patch at the time that “[The] model is inconsistent with Goddard’s service delivery approach and so we as an organization have decided not to continue as the operator.”

Goddard’s exit wasn’t the only delay the project has faced. Eli Zabar (of the Zabar family), who also owns several buildings on the block, filed a lawsuit against the project which ultimately failed. Some neighbors followed his lead when a community group, lead by the owner of the gymnastics school next door, asked the Department of Buildings to revoke permits on zoning grounds. Not all neighbors feel this way, however, as some banded together to write an open letter opposing Zabar’s lawsuit and welcoming the shelter.

upper east side homeless shelter 419 east 91st street

Many neighbors have been concerned because the block houses an all-girls K-12 school, a gymnastics school, and the preschool and child activity center ‘Art Farm in the City’ (which previously occupied the building at 419 91st Street and now operates just down the block). It is also in close proximity to Asphalt Green, P.S. 527 Elementary School, and M.S. 114 East Side Middle School. A local parent told East Side Feed she’s concerned because the middle school students go out for lunch each day on their own. S:US representative Nadjete Natchaba told Fox 5 News that they will work with residents and neighbors to keep the area safe for all. Additionally, S:US representative Sharon Dorr told Patch that the average stay is expected to be less than 30 days (as the goal is to move people into more permanent solutions).


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