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Reporting by Ruth Walker & Phil O’Brien
We have reports from multiple sources that residents of the homeless shelter at Cachet Hotel were awoken early this morning and told to pack their belongings and that they would be moving out.
Security staff at the door confirmed that the residents “are moving out today and tomorrow.” This afternoon BRC (the organization that runs the shelter) was still delivering meals to some residents of the hotel.
This hotel has become a particular hotspot of anti-social activity since the City moved homeless shelter residents to empty hotels to help with social distancing. BRC moved 100 men with mental health needs from The Boulevard Hotel shelter in East Harlem into the Cachet Hotel on W42nd St two months ago.
Relocations have been deeply unpopular with residents. Earlier this month we reported on a petition, now signed by over 1,700 locals, that demands the right to quality of life in Hell’s Kitchen and the closure of homeless shelters in the neighborhood. At the time Peter Shankman spoke for many when he told us: “I never would have imagined that I’d have to wait on line at Esposito’s while keeping one hand on my Mace canister because not one, but two homeless people were screaming at us from across the street. This is what it was like in the ’70s when I was in school in New York. I’ve got a seven-year-old daughter now. I’ve had to explain to her at least twice a week that it’s OK, we’re not in danger. I hope I’m not lying to her.”
Treadwell Park, which is a tenant at the Cachet Hotel, closed for business after multiple incidents threatened the safety of their clients and staff. “The growing safety concerns of Hell’s Kitchen has forced us to shut our doors,” said Treadwell Park manager, Dominick Costa, back in early July. “We will not be reopening until it is safe for our guests and staff to walk the streets again.”
On Monday, New York’s Mayor, Bill de Blasio, pledged to move homeless residents out of hotels and on to other facilities.
Holly-Anne Devlin and Marisa Redanty, co-founders of the Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Action Committee, issued the following statement this afternoon: “We received the news today that the Cachet Boutique Hotel shelter, inhabited by residents of the nonprofit Bowery Residents Committee, will be vacating the location in the coming days. This is a positive step for the shelter residents in that they will now have access to services and job placement courses that were not offered while in the hotel. Over the past many weeks, our organization has been working alongside elected officials, the BRC staff, local businesses and residents, to make this temporary living situation safe and comfortable for all parties. We wish the residents and staff of BRC well and look forward to local businesses that were connected to the hotel being able to re-open in the coming weeks.”
UPDATES: We have asked for comments from Merchant Hotel Group (owner of Cachet Hotel), Corey Johnson’s office, Treadwell Park, and BRC. We will update as we hear more.