A group of Lower East Side residents and businesses who sued the city to try to stop a homeless shelter from opening in their neighborhood have appealed the ruling dismissing their case, court papers show.
In January, the Manhattan locals asked a judge to prevent the city from opening a temporary homeless shelter at the Blue Moon Hotel, arguing that the plan would pack in the denizens and potentially spur an outbreak of COVID-19 in the area.
But a judge dismissed the suit last month, saying the plaintiffs didn’t have legal standing to challenge the city’s contract for the shelter because they didn’t bid on it and couldn’t prove they were negatively affected beyond as members of the general public — a necessary legal requirement.
The group filed an appeal of that decision Thursday claiming they do in fact have legal standing because of their close proximity to the hotel and the irreparable harm they will face if it opens, “especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the appeal reads.
The city sought to open the shelter at the 100 Orchard St. location to help ease crowding among the city’s homeless-shelter population during the pandemic.
The suit argued that the close quarters of the 22-room converted former tenement building could be risky amid the pandemic.
And the locals claimed that the city would extend the temporary contract, eventually making the shelter permanent, as an end-run around the normally required public review process.
The city has since laid out a more detailed plan of how it would guard against spreading the coronavirus at the site by only using 46 beds there. It also says it would enforce mask-wearing in common areas, test residents and staff for the virus and take their temperatures when they enter the building.
The shelter has not opened yet, a rep with the city Department of Homeless Services said.
“It is our legal and moral obligation to provide shelter for all New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and we’re confident that the courts will continue to affirm our vital need for these high-quality beds, especially during these challenging times,” the rep said in a statement.
“We also remain committed to continuing to openly engage the community, as we have throughout this process, to ensure that this high-quality facility is integrated into the neighborhood and our clients are welcomed as neighbors —and through collaborative support and compassion, we will make this the best experience it can be for all.”
The city Law Department did not immediately return a request for comment.