Lucerne Homeless Residents Earn Six-Month Reprieve

Closeup on the windows at Lucerne Hotel on the Upper West Side
Lucerne Hotel on the Upper West Side (Photo credit: Never Sink Media)

The homeless residents of the Lucerne Hotel on the Upper West Side just received some wonderful news; they’ll be able to stay where they are for a little while longer.

Last November, the Manhattan Supreme Court issued a ruling to relocate the 240 homeless men stationed at the Lucerne Hotel. Their new home would have been the Raddison, a hotel in the Financial District. However, the ruling was overturned yesterday by a New York appeals court, who decreed that the residents will have the option to stay at the Lucerne for the next few months, if they so choose. Those who would rather move to the Raddison will still have the option to do so.

The reprieve will last for the length of the appeal. The court clarified that it will be hearing arguments on the appeal over the next few months, “on condition the appeal is perfected for the May 2021 Term.”

“This is a huge victory for the residents of the Lucerne who are thriving here on the Upper West Side,” said Corrine Low, Co-Founder of the Upper West Side Open Hearts Initiative. “It is a testament to what can happen when neighborhoods work together with shelter residents, instead of against them.”

The decision came about as the result of an emergency action from the non-profit group Downtown New Yorkers. They argued that the move would cause “irreparable harm” to Lower Manhattan, and that the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) hadn’t been engaging with Manhattan Community Board 1 in good faith.

“While we are disappointed that the court denied our motion for a preliminary injunction, our appeal on the merits continues,” the group said in a tweet. “We are extremely gratified that court ruled that the city cannot forcibly relocate the men from the #Lucerne Hotel to the #Radisson Hotel.”

Although some applauded the decision, some Upper West Siders were not quite as enthusiastic, arguing that the Lucerne Hotel doesn’t have the resources to accommodate these men.

“Today’s decision means the fraction of the men who choose to remain temporarily housed at the Lucerne pending further litigation will continue to go without on-site medical services and access to crucial addiction services that are in close proximity to 52 William Street,” said Dr. Megan Martin, President of the West Side Community Organization.

Going forward, Corinne Low hopes that the City will stop using the homeless as a political chess piece and grant their lives some stability.

“We hope the Mayor will at long last do the right thing, stop spending our tax dollars to fight homeless men in court, and focus on using the Radisson Hotel–which has been sitting practically empty–to safely house people sleeping on the streets or still in congregate shelters,” said Low.