New York, NY—The debate over whether to use the Lucerne Hotel as a homeless shelter to house 200 men on the Upper West Side proved to be a divisive issue in the neighborhood. One of the six candidates running to be the next Manhattan Borough President, Elizabeth Caputo, just unveiled a neighborhood action proposal that she hopes will bring the two opposing sides to an agreement over how best to provide for the shelter residents while addressing the concerns of Upper West Side residents.

The shelter divided the neighborhood because one group of people said that the siting of the shelter was contributing to a deterioration of public safety, while another group said the rush to displace the residents revealed a lack of compassion.

Caputo is calling her action proposal the Community Conversation Plan, which is informed by Caputo’s time as chair of Community Board 7 where she forged consensus among divergent groups.

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There are a number of elements to the plan, including:

  • A direct meeting to be held before the next court hearing on November 16 with a single representative from each relevant city agency, service providers, shelter residents, private sector leaders, residents and advocacy groups.
  • As a result of the meeting, an actionable plan to best serve the shelter residents while addressing the broader issue of homelessness on the Upper West Side.
  • Regardless of the November 16 outcome, a virtual town hall meeting to roll out the Community Conversation Plan and seek final community input.
  • A commitment from City Hall and the private sector to enact the Community Conversation Plan.
  • Monthly/quarterly progress updates from City Hall to update the community on the plan’s progress.

Caputo also noted that the Community Conservation Plan is a model that can be replicated to address similar neighborhood issues throughout Manhattan and would aid and enhance the work of Manhattan’s 12 Community Boards.

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