NEW YORK - After several years of back-and-forth battles, a homeless shelter has opened along the so-called Billionaires' Row in Manhattan.
The former Park Savoy Hotel on West 58th Street is now a home for around 140 men.
It quietly opened last Friday despite repeated and costly efforts by neighbors to block it.
Only a handful of men have moved in so far and move-ins will be staggered each week until the shelter is full.
The shelter is being run by not-for-profit social service provider WestHab. It will serve those who are either working or actively seeking employment.
The people running the shelter say they are happy the building which had gone unused for years can finally help people in need.
They say they are looking forward to being a good neighbor.
Jim Coughlin, Westhab Chief Operating Officer says, "Opening this site represents an exciting opportunity for New York City, Westhab, and our partners to serve individuals who are unhoused in our community and support them as they get back on their feet.".
The facility is focused on supporting and working with individuals who are currently employed or who are actively seeking employment. The program onsite services such as job readiness training and job search assistance.
They say there is 24-hours security on-site and there is a 10 p.m. curfew for residents.
The shelter operates in the same neighborhood as some of the priciest real estate in New York City.
The West 58th Street Coalition, the group that waged the long legal fight against the shelter, spent at least $287,000 to hire lobbyists to help their cause, city lobbying records show.
Opponents also spent at least $100,000 on billboards in Iowa protesting Mayor Bill de Blasio as he traveled in the state during his short-lived 2019 presidential campaign.