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Budget, Education & City Services

Harmonia Shelter, 12 East 31st Street.

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, September 10, 2020, the following resolution passed with a vote of 44 in favor; 0 opposed; 0 abstaining:

WHEREAS, The Harmonia Shelter is located at 12 East 31st Street in the former Chandler Hotel; and

WHEREAS, The Harmonia is a Department of Homeless Services (DHS) funded facility that provides temporary emergency and transitional housing to adult families; and

WHEREAS, The Harmonia provides temporary housing for 170 adult families, many with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, the Harmonia has been in operation since 2018, and is one of the few family shelters that serves adult families with disabilities and senior citizens; and 

WHEREAS, Services for the Underserved (SUS) is the provider at the Harmonia, and  provides extensive intake and residential programs for those individuals who are referred to the Harmonia by DHS; and

WHEREAS, Harmonia staff work with families to develop Independent Living Plans that map personal and family goals, and

WHEREAS, The Harmonia shelter includes case managers, nurses, educators and food service employees along with security to provide stability and support to the residents; and

WHEREAS, SUS have been making inroads into placing Harmonia clients into permanent and supportive housing; and

WHEREAS, DHS and SUS have stated that stability, continuity, and connection with in-house supportive services as well as nearby services within the community are all necessary supports for clients living within the Harmonia; and

WHEREAS, The residents of the Harmonia have been summarily notified that they will be moved from the Harmonia and away from the services and supports they need there in order to accommodate residents of the Lucerne Hotel; and 

WHEREAS, Community stakeholders have been blindsided by this abrupt transfer of the vulnerable population at the Harmonia, having received no formal notice of the move; and

WHEREAS, Community stakeholders have not been notified of, or participated in, any decisions to displace the current Harmonia families in favor of the residents of the Lucerne, despite requesting information on the Lucerne move; and 

WHEREAS, The community has not been given any stat-based facts to explain the Mayor’s rationale behind this sudden uprooting of these homeless shelter clients from the Lucerne aside from complaints from some residents of the Upper West Side; and 

WHEREAS, The administration has the resources and ability to find alternative housing for the Lucerne's homeless shelter clients that does not displace the homeless families, elderly and disabled communities of the Harmonia; and

WHEREAS, All districts in NYC should share the responsibility of fixing the City’s homeless problem, and we call upon the Mayor to stick to his commitment to partner with community stakeholders to expand shelter services and allow community stakeholders to weigh in on the movement of these clients;  and

WHEREAS, We decry the hypocrisy of the administration in shuffling vulnerable populations haphazardly, which undermines the stability and support the City claims must be provided to these clients; and  

WHEREAS, We find it outrageous that the employees of SUS who have worked with families at the Harmonia may be in danger of losing their jobs as a result of this hasty decision; therefore, be it  

RESOLVED, Community Board Five condemns in the strongest possible terms the removal of families at the Harmonia and insists that any eviction processes be immediately halted; and be it further

RESOLVED, Community Board Five strongly urges the City, DHS and DSS to develop clear and transparent plans for the housing of the homeless in temporary shelters and that these plans must involve the meaningful participation of community stakeholders; and be it further

RESOLVED, Community Board Five strongly urges the Mayor and the administration to develop and follow data-driven metrics in siting and removing hotel populations rather than the current arbitrary and capricious actions evidenced by the removal of vulnerable families from their home at the Harmonia.

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