New York City Converts Luxury Condo Into Homeless Shelter

Could this be the nicest homeless shelter in America? The Daily News is reporting that the city is paying $90 a night per apartment for the use of a failed luxury condo development — which features granite countertops, marble bathrooms and walk-in closets. (The $90 a night figure includes social services, housing help and job counseling designed to get families back on their feet.) Local residents, some of them interested in renting an apartment in the building, are pretty ticked off.

Neighbors were furious the 67-unit building on East New York Ave., where apartments were supposed to sell for $250,000 to $350,000, has been turned into a shelter.

“I’m a hardworking taxpayer, and I don’t think homeless people should be living better than me,” fumed Desmond John, 35, a window salesman who wanted to rent one of the fancy apartments. “They said it’s not for rent. It’s a shelter. I was shocked.”

The lucky residents are thrilled with the arrangement, however:

“When I first saw it, I was like, ‘Damn, everything is brand new,'” said Raymond, who wouldn’t give his last name. “It has marble counters and marble floors in the bathrooms, too. I like the big kitchen. That’s my favorite.”

The developer is also excited about the deal, and though he wouldn’t tell the paper how much of the $90 a night he’s getting, he did say that he’s been able to keep the building, avoid default and stay current on his mortgage.

“This is a case of innovation and outside-the-box thinking that benefits all those involved,” Department of Homeless Services spokeswoman Heather Janik told the Daily News.

City turns upscale building in Crown Heights into homeless shelter
[Daily News]
(Photo:Fevelo/Daily News)


Edit Your Comment

  1. shepd says:

    Wait-a-second, $250k gets you a luxury apartment in NYC? In my medium-sized town $250k buys you… …a luxury loft.

    Those prices have to be wrong or else people saying that NYC is expensive to live in are nuts!

    • RonDiaz says:

      @shepd: Dang $250K would buy you a BIG ASS HOUSE here.

    • youbastid says:

      @shepd: Near Bushwick != Manhattan.

      • JediJohn82 says:


        I had a friend spend a summer in NYC. She said the price differences between there and Oklahoma are crazy. Here main example was groceries…for what she spend in NYC to get a weeks worth of food she could get a months worth of food back home. She was glad she wasn’t paying for the flat she was staying in, lol.

        • Powerlurker says:


          I remember reading in either Forbes or Money magazine once that the cost of living in NYC is over twice that of Houston. I believe the exact numbers were that to live as well as you could in Houston for $89,000/yr would require $205,000 in NYC.

        • ludwigk says:

          @JediJohn82: When we moved from Maine to the SF bay area in California, we had similar sticker shock from groceries. A gallon of milk costs about twice as much here. You do, however, make out like a bandit with regards to in-season produce. Musk Mellons and avocados for $1?

          Last time we looked at real estate around here, studio and some loft apartments started around $400,000. Anything with “luxury” in the name automatically got a 30% increase. This may have changed in the past year, now that housing prices are declining.

      • illtron says:

        @youbastid: Bushwick? Never heard of it. You must mean East Williamsburg.

    • Adrienne Willis says:

      @shepd: its not in Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill or Park Slope, its Brownsville. You see these places popping up all over the place and soon the neighborhood will change where $250k wont even get you a studio (thank you gentrification).

    • meechybee says:

      @shepd: This developer obviously bet the farm on making a quick buck. The building may be “luxury” but in NYC, location (location-location-location) is king. He got greedy and fell on his face. Good for the residents!

  2. laserjobs says:

    It must be nice to have political connections

  3. CaptainConsumer says:

    I have a platitude for Mr. Desmond John:

    “Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. SOMETIMES, it rains….”
    –Bull Durham

  4. youbastid says:

    “When I first saw it, I was like, ‘Damn, everything is brand new,'” said Raymond, who wouldn’t give his last name. “It has marble counters and marble floors in the bathrooms, too.”

    This quote is seriously conjuring images of Eddie Murphy in Trading Places. And no, that doesn’t mean I’m assuming that the homeless guy is black.

  5. dave_coder says:

    I hope the city is getting the homeless some work in exchange for the free rooming. Perhaps cleaning the streets or something like that?

    • southernbitch says:

      @dave_coder: watch out, though- we dont want them running off in the middle of the night if they dont like their new lives- better build in some shackles next to the marble bathtub! and just in case, if they do get out, maybe we should brand them somehow so everyone knows who and what they are.


  6. wgrune says:

    Something doesn’t sound quite right here. $250k will barely get you marble bathrooms and granite countertops in Minneapolis and MLPS aint New York City when it comes to housing.

    • valsharess1 says:

      @wgrune: That’s what I was thinking.

    • YarrrSquiddy says:

      @wgrune: That would be because it’s in Crown Heights. Being sandwiched in between delightful East New York (the most dangerous neighborhood in the city hands down) and BedStuy doesn’t exactly make it a desirable place to live. I wouldn’t move there if someone paid me to.

      • Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

        (the most dangerous neighborhood in the city hands down)

        Hahah this comment has is the most hilarious EVER. I guess if your an out of towner or transplant or never left Manhattan, would this be true.

        Your so safe in nYc now and days it’s not even funny! Especially if your white…I could put any money down that at 3 am, stark Summer, walk through the most ‘Dangerous’ of neighborhoods and NOTHING, absolutely nothing will happen to you.

        That’s my experience, living and growing up all over the 5 boroughs..from the South Bronx, to deep in BK… F what y0u heard!

        This is not the same new york it was 20, 30 years ago. That was the real NY, that I miss so sorely. You walked on your toes, and were super aware of your surrounds, just in case things did pop off.

        Run Forest RUN!

        • YarrrSquiddy says:

          @WatchOutNow: Nope, born and raised over here, hun. And yep – it’s very very very crazy safe in just about every single solitary neighborhood in the city now, but East New York is a death trap that harkens back to the ‘real NY days’ that you so fondly recall (ESPECIALLY for white people).

        • 1kamaz says:


          I used to pass East New York in my commute to Queens every other day. It’s a sh*thole, man. You wouldn’t find a single white person on the street within a half mile radius. I would be hesitant getting out of my car in that neiborhood during the day, much less going for a stroll around the place at night.

    • Shoelace says:

      @wgrune: I’d guess marble countertops and 2 bedrooms in a new building in Brooklyn should be at least $500K, more if in one of the better neighborhoods.

    • Notsewfast says:

      Yeah, I don’t really see your point, Its not as if the government seized the luxury development and demanded that the homeless be allowed to live there. The developer couldn’t sell the units.

      If anything this is capitalism at work, the market was over-built, so vacant space is being rented for what the market will bear ($90 a night) and what the landlord will accept. If there were legitimate demand for the condos, they would be full. obviously the owner wants to sell the units for more than he paid, so he’s bridging the gap by taking a large scale contract to make ends meet until the housing market turns around.

    • Pixelantes Anonymous says:

      @wgrune: New York City >> Manhattan.

      This particular neighborhood is quite far from Manhattan.

    • scoosdad says:

      @wgrune: A zero missing off the end perhaps?

    • 1kamaz says:


      I’m not surprised that this condo development failed. Most people who can afford to spend $300k on an apartment will not be buying on in East New York, lol. Don’t make a mistake thinking that this is anywhere near Manhattan. It’s a totally ghetto area of Brooklyn and for the most part a rent-only area.

      • Mina_da_mad_child says:

        @1kamaz: Thank you. And did you notice the balconies on the 2nd floor!? It’s like hanging a giant “ROB ME NOW” sign in front of the window.

        The developer was an idiot that thought the market would extend to THE WORST place in Brooklyn. Sorry, but fringe areas are the first to go when the economy tanks.

        But my previous life as a social worker for the Department of Homeless Services tells me that he’s getting approximately 80% of the money mentioned in the article. I just hope he realizes that all of the equipment and furnishings will have to be replaced when the residents eventually move out

        • YarrrSquiddy says:

          @Mina_da_mad_child: Only “ROB ME NOW”? Wow, that’s putting it nicely. If you’re a chick that would be a totally different ‘R-word’ on that sign. It’s like some fucked up initiation for the gangs around there (one of many ‘rights of passage’) – you and your buddies grab a woman and pull her into an alley way, but hell I guess that the balcony would work just fine too.
          I do have to make a slight correction. That’s not the worst area in Brooklyn, it’s right next to the worst area (the area in mention on East NY Ave, but not in East New york itself – two of my bffs are cops in East New York. I hear some majorly messed up stories).

  7. winstonthorne says:

    This pisses ME off and I don’t even live in the city! People are too quick to yell “SOCIALISM!” and “COMMIES!” at every turn but this particular move is too left-leaning for me not to point out the redness inherent in this poorly-planned decision.

    • pop top says:

      @winstonthorne: Is it left-leaning because they’re helping poor people, or because it offends you that a poor person might be touching something of value?

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        @squinko: I’d wager that for a lot of people crying foul, it’s the latter.

      • Jeremy82465 says:

        @squinko: Probably the same as the comment from the actual interviewed person:

        “I’m a hardworking taxpayer, and I don’t think homeless people should be living better than me,”

      • bombhand says:

        @squinko: I think you’ve just hit on the solution! City workers can go through each and every unit and put laminate over the granite countertops, linoleum over the marble flooring, and disconnect the plumbing to the tub faucet and force residents to use the shower. That way we don’t have to suffer with the knowledge that these unfortunate families (oops, I mean lazy filthy bums) might be living in something other than squalor while they try to get themselves back on their feet.

        • pop top says:

          @bombhand: My friend, don’t you know that poor people only live to feed off of the working man and woman? Why would any of them try to get back on their feet when they’re suckling at the breast of… *dun dun DUN* MOTHER SOCIALISM?!

          • Anonymous says:

            @squinko: Seriously. It seems that some “hardworking” citizens never stop to think that working more hours doesn’t make YOU a better person than the homeless person, nor does it make the homeless person any less deserving. Now, the fact that Dick Cheney is living better than ME, THAT’s what pisses me off ;)

      • winstonthorne says:

        @squinko: It’s left-leaning because there are other people who are actually earning a living every day and who wish to rent the units at around market value being turned away in favor of GIVING the apartments to homeless people.

    • veg-o-matic says:

      @winstonthorne: You understand neither socialism nor communism.

      The (private, for very much profit) developer is in favor of this. Explain how that is “red,” Mr./Ms. 1950’s Cold War Suburban Stereotype.

      • winstonthorne says:

        @veg-o-matic: Of course he’s in favor of this; he’s probably getting a huge tax break and if he weren’t positive about this idea, he’d look like a big bad republican. How is it not socialist? You make no sense.

        • veg-o-matic says:

          @winstonthorne: Tax breaks are now socialist?

          The government did not expropriate that building. The private developer continues to make a profit. It is far from socialist/communist/”left-leaning” (let’s just use them interchangeably because what’s the difference, right?!?!)

          You make no sense.

        • DoubleBaconVeggieBurger says:

          @winstonthorne: Because the owner of the building can do what he wants to make money on the property. In this case, rent it to the city until a time when he can sell it at a price he finds acceptable.

          Just because there’s one guy on the street who says he’d pay to live there, doesn’t mean the owner could rent out the entire building for a price that he’d accept.

    • KittensRCute! says:

      its not left leaning its just freaking annoying and wrong. particularly when there were people willing (albeit at reduced prices) to buy those homes.

  8. rpm773 says:

    This is a case of innovation and outside-the-box thinking that benefits all those involved

    Yeah, well wait until the new neighbors start barbecuing in the bathtub and burning the place down.

    • rpm773 says:

      @rpm773: Oops. *burn the place down. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that it won’t happen until the fires start.

    • wgrune says:


      Yeah, I don’t know how I would feel if the building next to me turned into a homeless shelter all of a sudden. Good luck trying to sell.

      • edwardso says:

        @wgrune: It’s really transitional housing, to help people get back on their feet. When I hear “homeless shelter” I think of a place people stay for a night or two.

      • oneandone says:

        @wgrune: The building next to me is a homeless shelter, and it’s actually not that bad. I’m in a gentrifying area of DC, and so far the condo residents and shelter patrons seem to be coexisting pretty well.

    • pop top says:

      @rpm773: Those crazy stereotypical homeless people. Always cooking in bathrooms and setting fires. Make sure to check any soup they serve you; it might have a shoe in it!

      • Sparerib says:

        @squinko: Boot Stew?! That sounds great. With a side of cigarette butt fries. I just hope it’s served by a guy with in a top hat with the top barely hanging on like an opened tin can lid. And his name is Franklin Alabaster Pepperpots III.

    • nakedscience says:

      @rpm773: You’re an asshole.

      • bibliophibian says:

        @nakedscience: Although I basically agree with your position (that it was a dick comment to make about BBQing in the bathtubs) I also have to be completely fair and admit that there is a grain of truth to what s/he says.

        When my brother – mentally ill, substance abuse, had been homeless for 2 years – had an Incident in California (reality break in a public library, hospitalization for ~two weeks), the Social Services people there offered to pay for his bus ticket home, in part because a $75 Greyhound ticket is cheaper than months of medical care on the “indigent” program.

        My mother jumped at the chance – she’d been trying to convince him to come home all along – and by the time his bus got here, she had a little $200/mo dive apartment rented for him. (But it was a dive with *character.* I really liked it, except for the “no cooling system” and “major vermin problem” parts.)

        Within six months he was on the street again (his decision), and the landlord called my mom to tell her there was a problem with the apartment regarding the security deposit. I went with her when she went to see what was going on, and I could never in my wildest dreams have imagined anyone so thoroughly destroying an apartment while leaving the walls standing. I have *literally* been in partially demolished buildings that were not as trashed.

        And yes, there had been a fire in the bathtub, and on the bathroom floor, and in the kitchen sink. (He explained that he didn’t always like to go to the dumpsters downstairs so he usually just burned his trash. All the smoke detectors had been removed – he thought there were cameras in them.) He had also spraypainted the entire exterior AND interior of the refrigerator, as well as the interiors of all three windows. I don’t think there were two contiguous square inches of un-graffiti’ed wall, ceiling, door, or floor in that entire apartment.

        The VAST MAJORITY of people who are homeless will not do such things; but it’s the people like my brother, severely mentally ill (paranoid schizophrenia) and wasted out of their skulls (self-medicating) who give the rest a bad name. It’s important to realize that not all homeless people are irresponsible destructive derelicts, but it’s equally important to realize that a few… yeah, kind of are.

        IMO, what’s most important of all is never to assume one way or the other without evidence.

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      @rpm773: ‘Yeah, well wait until the new neighbors start barbecuing in the bathtub and burning the place down.’

      You mean like the college kids a few blocks away from my old place did? And they succeeded in burning down their building, too.

      • rpm773 says:

        @JulesNoctambule: Well, regardless of what @nakedscience may be ranting about ad nauseum, everyone knows college kids are lazy and animals.

      • Megalomania says:

        @JulesNoctambule: …and people are never too psyched about college students living in their area either. I know W&M has some ridiculous laws in place just on the books to screw over college students and keep them out of most neighborhoods.

        • dahlink_natasha says:

          @Megalomania: I live right above an apartment that has cycled through several sets of college students since I’ve lived here. Every single one of them has had living expenses paid for by Mommy and Daddy, and none of them had any sort of job where they had to earn their own money. Without a single exception I would come home to a loud thumping stereo making my furniture vibrate, five to six cars parked outside and at LEAST five people “living” in a studio apartment that is not all that big. The latest crowd seems to invite their underage friends to come over and drink–I feel really uncomfortable coming home at 3am from a late shift at the hospital and there are at least seven young men slouched against the wall and watching me exit my car and climb the steps to my apartment. I’m a woman living by myself.

          Underage friends were not too happy that someone started to call the cops on them when they had their little parties…

    • boxjockey68 says:

      @rpm773: well, if they don’t burn it down barbecuing, there will most certainly be some sort of crack smoking incident…

  9. Dafrety says:

    I feel really happy for them. They just better actually get a job now though.

    • girlleastlikelyto says:

      @Dafrety: I wouldn’t assume that some of them don’t have jobs already. A job doesn’t always mean you’re safe from homelessness.

    • says:

      @Dafrety: they are living better than people who work all day…whats going to encourage them to get a job when they already got the stuff people bust ass for?…

      • RandomZero says:

        @urbanturban666: Basic human dignity? Pride? Believe it or not, even poor people have that. That’s what got my mother off welfare and working her ass off for the same living conditions. S’what kept me from taking a dime of public money short of basic health care needs, even when I was actively encouraged to get my handout.

  10. pop top says:

    “I’m a hardworking taxpayer, and I don’t think homeless people should be living better than me,” fumed Desmond John.

    That’s a pretty callous statement. It sounds so similar to the morons who hate welfare because one time down at the grocery store I saw someone with food stamps and they were talking on a cell phone and their car look nicer than mine and how dare poor people try to have nice things.

    Although I always love it when people pull the “I’m a taxpayer card”. I used to intern with a state rep and one thing I had to do was file the constituent letters. You would not believe how many of those letter contained some variation on the phrase “I’m a taxpayer”, not to mention the phrase “I’m an American citizen”.

    Because if you pay your taxes, that means laws don’t apply to you, or that you can make people change the laws you don’t like overnight.

    • edwardso says:

      @squinko: Not to mention that these people were tax paying citizens before they were homeless. This is part of the reason we pay taxes, for community programs

      • jayde_drag0n says:

        @squinko: just a side comment to add to that.. so someone who is poor has something nice.. that doesn’t automatically mean they bought it for themselves.. OR bought it recently. your assumptions are faulty at best.

        here are some examples to explain what you might see:
        having a cell phone: $10mo on a friend or family members plan (woo isn’t that high falutin!)
        nice car: had a good job 4 years ago, bought it used and took care of it (its been paid off for 2 years)
        nails were done nicely: congratulations you caught me on my way to my brothers graduation.. my mom paid for them
        own a computer: nerd friend gave it to them
        internet: its called an unprotected router

        these aren’t necessarily me, but they are what i’ve experienced

      • KittensRCute! says:


        you dont know that. its likely they could of never worked a day in their lives.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      how dare poor people try to have nice things

      @squinko: Yep. G-d forbid that you ever have something good happen to you if you end up poor. The city should have spent a bunch of money building a crappy building instead of just renting out an existing one.

      • KittensRCute! says:

        @Rectilinear Propagation: i wanted to add that the city makes unemployment out at 405 a week or 1822.5 to people who are ALREADY IN THE WORKFORCE AND ALREADY PAYING TAXES but need a leg up.

        i am a liberal tree hugging communist hippie who voted for obama the muslim like the best of them but really sometimes even i have to draw the line.

    • Sparerib says:


      To be fair:
      Unintentionally living next to a homeless shelter is not the same thing as seeing a guy use welfare at the grocery store. Regardless of whether the guy come off as a dick in his quote, he does have a point in there somewhere. Somebody up above had a nice insight: good luck trying to sell that place! (economy not withstanding.)

      • Sparerib says:

        @Sparerib: Also, since it is disgraceful that human beings live on the streets in this country I can appreciate this situation, I just think that people that live in the same development have a legitimate gripe with the owner.

      • joshua70448 says:

        @Sparerib: Then again, the guy in the quote was only looking to buy one of the apartments, so I assume he isn’t living next to it. He’s still a ginormous asshole, point or no. Personally, I think this is great, because it keeps the building for becoming vacant and unmaintained, and keeps the city from having to build shelters elsewhere. It’s not like the city is building this nice, new building for the homeless, they’re just making use of existing, empty space. So what if there’s a few people interested in buying, there’s not enough to fully populate the building. Concentrate the willing buyers into fewer buildings so you can keep the vacancy level down.

        • Sparerib says:

          @joshua70448: So what if the guy is an asshole, he’s entitled to his opinion too. What the city is paying per month for these units is 2x what my mortgage is, and if Philadelphia did this on my block I’d be surprised too. I won’t sit here and say people should live on the streets, but I can understand when people believe their environment has been compromised. And people choose to live in their particular neighborhood for many reasons, some of which is the ability to shelter themselves from “undesirables.” That’s just the way people choose to live, it’s human nature to be prejudice.

          • edwardso says:

            @Sparerib: now if I could only find an asshole free neighborhood

          • pop top says:

            @Sparerib: “it’s human nature to be prejudice.”

            That doesn’t mean you should defend it.

          • nakedscience says:

            @Sparerib: “but I can understand when people believe their environment has been compromised. “

            Oh, boo fucking hoo. Sorry, I have no sympathy for people who want to shelter themselves from “undesirables”. Wanna know who I have sympathy for? The families who are struggling right now.

            • Sparerib says:

              @nakedscience: You really should get off your high horse, because you clearly don’t understand how the world works. Lots if people think that taking care of themselves by keeping other people at bay. That’s just the way things work. I’m not defending or criticizing. I just get it. I used to live in a communal house at 58th street in West Philly and it was a war zone. Then I moved so I didn’t have to be around that because I had a kid. And compassion is incredibly important but it’s ignorant to not see the other side of the coin.

              • henwy says:


                I’m sorry but the individual you are trying to reach is not available to receive your message. She is busy being self-righteous but will get back to you as soon as her head clears her ass. Thank you.

          • greyer says:

            @Sparerib: He’s entitled to his opinion, but not guaranteed protection from the blowback when he says something offensive and ignorant.

          • HogwartsAlum says:


            That doesn’t make it okay. It’s human nature to be violent too; should I hit my boss upside the head with a 2×4?

            And it’s “prejudiced” with a “d”. Sorry, but that really bugs me.

        • bombhand says:

          @joshua70448: It said he just wanted to rent one of the apartments, not buy. I didn’t see any indication in the article that the apartments were ever for rent in the normal sense, so it’s possible he heard that it was becoming a social housing project, called up the organizers to take advantage of an inexpensive trade-up and was told he wasn’t eligible. Because, you know, he wasn’t homeless, just a hardworking taxpayer with an entitlement complex.

          And I, too, think it’s a great initiative. There’s really no measuring the value of a feeling of self-worth; it really builds on itself when a person gets a chance to take some pride in himself. I hope this project turns out well.

        • HogwartsAlum says:


          That’s a very good point, well put. Someone should ask the guy if he’d rather have squatters in there.

        • KittensRCute! says:


          you think homeless people living rent free are going to take care of the building?

      • nakedscience says:

        @Sparerib: OH NO! You might have to breath the same are as a homeless PERSON! *gasp* The horror!!!!!

      • southernbitch says:

        @dave_coder: @craptastico: oh for fuck’s sake, no one’s going to “lose their incentive to work” just because for ONCE something sort of works out well for HOMELESS, INDIGENT people. regardless of the fact that they have somewhere presumably nice to stay for a bit, it doesn’t chance their other problems- healthcare, dental care, trying to enter the work force, etc. personally, i would rather know that people who are facing tough times get taken care of just in case someday i find myself in a similar situation. having a social net is not going to cause everyone to quit their jobs and reside on welfare. not going to happen.

      • pop top says:

        @Sparerib: I understand that point, but that has nothing to do with that guy said. He’s just pissed because Mr. Barack HUSSEIN SOCIALIST COMMIE Obama is personally giving poor people gold toilets and rosewater bidets and then turns around and tries the working man to become Muslim! Or something…

        In my town there’s a homeless shelter smack dab in the middle of a downtown district they’re trying to revitalize. There are salons and bars and clubs around it and no one seems to have any problems. As long as the people who run the shelter work with the people staying there on not loitering or panhandling, I don’t see the problem.

    • Shoelace says:

      @squinko: Most people have to work very hard to be able to afford to rent or buy a place to live in NYC. I can understand why some would be bothered by the city putting up homeless people in brand new marble-countered condos. They’re paying for it with their taxes while struggling to live in places that are much less nice.

      Also, will this arrangement turn out to be permanent? What motivation do the homeless residents have to leave?

      • edwardso says:

        @Shoelace: This is why I wish there were some details on the program in the article. Usually programs that provide job assistance/subsbized housing have many limits and rules. So it’s probably not “homeless people you can house for free 4ever!!!!”

        • nakedscience says:

          @edwardso: Seriously. Likely, they have a set amount of time they can stay there, and there is this:

          (The $90 a night figure includes social services, housing help and job counseling designed to get families back on their feet.)

          Clearly it’s not just a free for all.

          • Sparerib says:

            @nakedscience: The city pays $90 a night. Not the people living there.

            And if you’re jaded enough to not understand what a homeless shelter would do to property values, then just I guess sarcasm is your best hope in life.

            • Powerlurker says:


              I understand what it would do for property values. I just don’t think the government should care about it when making decisions like these. The homeless shelter’s gotta be somewhere, might as well be there.

              • Guvmint_Cheese says:

                @Powerlurker: The government shouldn’t care, huh? Sewage plants have to go up somewhere, so I suppose you’d be just fine if it went up next to you for the same reason.

          • KittensRCute! says:


            “City pays $90 a night “

            it IS a free for all (homeless) god forbid you have a home, you might not even be able to afford a hotel like what the building is like.

          • Pyrusticia says:

            @nakedscience: Read the article again. The CITY is paying $90/night. It doesn’t say anything about the individual paying squat. And yes, I happen to agree with Mr. John. I live in Brooklyn, in a roach-infested dump that I was able to get for the rock-bottom price of about $900/month. Here the city is forking over $2700/month PER APARTMENT for a homeless shelter. I agree we need to get these unlucky individuals off the street, but I don’t see why the taxpayers should be footing the bill to have them living better than the taxpayers themselves do. Let’em move into my apartment, and if they want a better place, they can work for it.

      • pop top says:

        @Shoelace: “Most people have to work very hard to be able to afford to rent or buy a place to live in NYC. I can understand why some would be bothered by the city putting up homeless people in brand new marble-countered condos. They’re paying for it with their taxes while struggling to live in places that are much less nice.”

        The condo was failing and had no buyers, but when poor people start living there, everyone all of a sudden wants to rent the condos. People don’t have to live in NYC. If it’s too expensive, you can always move. I’m so sorry that they can’t have marble kitchens and get offended when poor people can.

        • TheWillow says:

          @squinko: If no one had rented and the owner foreclosed, homeless people would be living in it anyway.

        • KittensRCute! says:

          NOT TRUE!!

          there were people willing to buy, but it was up to the seller to lower the prices in keeping with its current mark value.

          but the city offered him $2700 a month which is WELL ABOVE market value for that area.

      • greyer says:

        @Shoelace: If those tax-paying citizens bothered to look at the financials before deciding to froth at the mouth they’d find this is saving them a hell of a lot of money.

    • shepd says:


      Of course, the opposite argument is that giving “freeloaders” (in quotes because I’m trying to prove the opposite arguments point!) luxury items reduces interest in self-improvement.

      What’s the point of working for a living if you can live a life of luxury, with nice cars, cell phones, and a palace for a place to live all for nothing?

      • pop top says:

        @shepd: “What’s the point of working for a living if you can live a life of luxury, with nice cars, cell phones, and a palace for a place to live all for nothing?”

        Please show me where in the article it says that these people are getting cars and cell phones.

    • diasdiem says:

      @squinko: I think that guy’s thinking of the people who are homeless because they’re alcoholics or drug addicts who can’t hold down a job or just don’t care, not the people who have lost their jobs and had their homes foreclosed in this recession. I can understand that kind of bitterness. In the non-out-of-work-recession-victim situation, you’re homeless because you’ve been doing things wrong in your life. Your life should suck, and you shouldn’t have nice things, because otherwise you have no incentive to change. But if you wind up living in a luxury apartment, that seems to suggest you’re doing something right. Clearly a mixed message.

      The indignation comes from people who are doing things right, working hard so they can buy their own food and pay for their own housing and putting a little away towards something nice, and see people who are doing things wrong living better than them. Lots of people could afford nice cars and phones and other nice things if they have the government paying for their groceries and subsidizing their housing. Or another way, lots of people could afford to buy their own groceries and pay for their own housing if they didn’t spend their money on nice cars and cell phones, which is the responsible way to live.

      That’s the problem people have with this sort of thing, they see it as rewarding irresponsible behavior. Sure, you can tell by looking at someone how or why they got in their situation, whether or not it’s their fault or if they could have done anything different. But there are so many stories of people gaming the system rather than live honestly and responsibly, that everyone in the system gets lumped into that category.

      • diasdiem says:

        @diasdiem: You can’t tell by looking, I meant.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @diasdiem: Thanks for a clear and reasonable response clarifying how people may feel about this situation.

        Personally, I don’t think it’s appalling that they’re housing homeless people in a luxury condo – if it was a regular condo with formica, people wouldn’t be so indignant. If it was an industrial building with tents, people wouldn’t be quite as indignant. But heaven forbid the city take a resource that was going to hell anyway and use it for something that might actually give people a roof over their heads – and maybe the granite countertops and stainless steel fridges will give some people a glimpse into what they could have in the future if they can really pull themselves out of homelessness (*insert rant about capitalism and materialism, blah blah blah…I like my granite countertops, thankyouverymuch).

        • edwardso says:

          @pecan 3.14159265: I think there would still be a fair number of complainers even if all the city did was give the homeless reinforced cardboard boxes. “How come when I want to move I have to buy boxes from uhaul yet the government gives them to lazy homeless people for FREE!!!”

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            @edwardso: Then those people are clearly stupid because UHaul has a community message board where people can trade boxes free. :-P

            I know, people will complain about anything. If it was an established building of some kind (it had actual tenants/home owners) and the city decided the unsold units had to house the homeless, I could definitely understand why people would be upset, especially if they didn’t have any say in it. It affects your property value, and I’d be upset too if I wasn’t consulted. But that’s not the case here, so I don’t think people who aren’t even living in the building should be complaining.

            • Guvmint_Cheese says:

              @pecan 3.14159265: If I was a property owner near that building, I’d be pretty upset and would surely complain and/or fight it. It affects their property values too. People buy property usually as one of the biggest investments they will make in their lifetimes, and most of them do it with the expectation that they won’t be living next to a homeless shelter. Unless that shelter was already there, in which case, that was factored into the price they paid for the property.

        • Mina_da_mad_child says:

          @pecan 3.14159265: I don’t have a problem with the city using this building in particular to house homeless families. However, this type of housing , called “scatter sites” since they are scattered around the city, has the most problems with residents not leaving and finding permanent housing of their own.
          When I worked for the same agency, I worked with some families that were in the shelter for years. Not months, but years because there wasn’t an incentive for them to move out. Under Bloomberg, they attempted to close down scatter site, but I guess not

        • henwy says:

          @pecan 3.14159265: Hell, why wait.


    • KittensRCute! says:


      WHATEVER!!!!! if you are homeless, you should not be living better than taxpayers, sorry those are the breaks.

  11. katieoh says:

    this made me smile. :] i live in brooklyn when i’m at school and tutor at what could be described as an “inner-city” school [98% of the kids get free lunches]; i know that any sort of luxury would be welcome for their families, and they are lucky enough to have apartments of their own. i can’t begin to imagine how great it must feel for the homeless.

    sometimes, you just need a break for your crappy life. i wonder how their residents will do when they leave.

    • HRHKingFridayXX says:

      @katieoh: Indeed. I think the bigger story, for better or worse, will be if this actually helps people. I’m hoping they give first priority to families, foreclosure victims, and folks with medical bankruptcies.

    • littlemisslondon says:

      @katieoh: I agree. You know, considering how shitty the homeless usually have it and how hard their lives have likely been until now, I actually find it kind of heartwarming that instead of just continuing in shitty circumstances forever, they get to have a taste of luxury for once.

  12. edwardso says:

    This is a great idea, I wonder if it will spread to all the other empty/near empty condos across the nation that popped up during the housing build-o-rama

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      Yeah, I agree. Why waste it? If you left it empty then squatters would just take it over and they would trash it for sure.

  13. csdiego says:

    I don’t begrudge the homeless their new housing, but it does make me wish my local and national government weren’t so feckless when it comes to promoting housing affordability for middle-class renters like me.

    Promoting housing affordability doesn’t mean “give me money”, it means: tearing down zoning and building-code barriers to building affordable housing in the first place, and letting homes with overdue mortgages go into foreclosure already so we can reach the real market-clearing price level more quickly.

    • edwardso says:

      @csdiego: When I lived in Denver they had a rule that a certain amount of units in the gentrified lofts (which displaced a lot of poor folks) had to be “affordable housing” Which set rent based on income limits. Is this a program that happens elsewhere?

      • Adrienne Willis says:

        @edwardso: yes it does, in NYC. I lived in a semi luxury building in Harlem (it was my mom’s place before retiring from the NYPD) and they had to set aside a certain number of apartments in the building for lower income residents. Its only fair. You cant just displace people or keep pushing them out of Manhattan to make room for the upper middle class. Its said that I was born and raised in Harlem, have a great job and I cant afford to move back to my neighborhood.

      • csdiego says:

        @edwardso: We have some developments with “affordable” units set aside in my area (DC-ish), but the income threshold for those is pretty low. Lots of people like me make too much money for the “affordable” housing but still can’t afford to buy on the open market.

      • XTC46 says:

        @edwardso: We have the same thing here in Hawaii. In the honolulu area when you build a new building there are rules in place that x percentage of units have to be affordable housing (which here means around 300k instead of the 1million the would normally go for) and the first floor of the building almost always has to be reservered for commercial use (this was put in place to get shop owners to sell their shops so high rises could be built)

    • MickeyMoo says:

      @csdiego: I’m curious as to what you mean by “tearing down zoning and building-code barriers”

      Allow high-rise high density buildings in a low-rise low density residential neighborhood?

      Building codes? PVC water supply lines? Aluminum wiring?

      perhaps I misunderstand

      • csdiego says:

        @MickeyMoo: Allowing higher density in any given neighborhood would do a lot to use existing infrastructure more efficiently and make housing more affordable. It doesn’t have to mean building a high-rise tower in a suburban cul-de-sac; it might be reducing the minimum lot size or favoring townhouses over detached single-family homes. A lot of places set densities low because they believe that people who live in more crowded setting use more tax dollars per capita, but that isn’t necessarily true now that walkable mixed-use neighborhoods are becoming popular even with high-end consumers.

        Building codes in a lot of places don’t allow for prefab housing, probably for fear of trailers. I’ve been seeing a lot lately about stylish prefab houses designed by architects, which would be a much more affordable kind of housing without necessarily bringing down the tone, but it’s hard to find a place anywhere near a city that will allow a prefab to go up.

  14. JRules says:

    Thats 2700 a month per apartment, what are they valuing the social services, housing help and job counseling at? Seems like either NYC is getting screwed or the builder knows someone in the government…

  15. mcs328 says:

    Or it could have sat there empty and eventually become a blight in the neighborhood housing the homeless anyways and be constantly vandalized which in turn bring the surround home values down and helping no one. Gee, those local residents should be grateful they aren’t homeless because it can just as easily be them tomorrow if they lose their jobs. pricks.

  16. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    the use of a failed luxury condo development

    Local residents, some of them interested in renting an apartment in the building, are pretty ticked off.

    Um, if people were really interested in living there, then why did the development fail? If they wanted a unit so bad maybe they should have said something before the owner had to turn it into a shelter to avoid foreclosure.

    • ARP says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: They were probably hoping that the developer would get desperate and rent/sell it to them very cheap. So they’re angry that they didn’t get their clearance sale.

    • Jeremy82465 says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: Very good point, one I didnt notice on the first read. Perhaps there wasnt enough interest in it.

    • Etoiles says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: Given the building’s location, I suspect it was going to be a far-flung attempt to gentrify one of the few remaining really bad parts of NYC (even Harlem has luxury condos now, and Washington Heights is filling up with white kids who can’t afford to live closer to Columbia). But with the economy going into the shitter, and particularly affecting NYC’s financial workers, I suspect that waves of gentrification have stalled out for the time being.

    • greyer says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: I’ll hazard it’s because only a couple people actually wanted a condo and the newspaper interviewed them to get all sides of the issue. My local paper does that all the time: they’ll find the one person in the crowd who disagrees with everyone else and give that person’s single opinion the weight of everyone else’s combined.

      • edwardso says:

        @greyer: Or they didn’t want the condo but when they heard it was going to homeless people they decided to raise a stink. people always come out of the woodwork when there is something to complain about

    • Pyrusticia says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: The condos were originally supposed to sell for $250-350,000 each. Then the development failed. Now they’re renting (to the city) for $2700/month. He never said he wanted to buy one, just rent one. That option presumably wasn’t available before the owner made his deal with the city.

  17. craptastico says:

    the only problem is, how does a city with no money and a big budget deficit afford $90/night for the homeless? another byproduct is that certain citizens (maybe Desmond John for example) are going to lose their incentive to work hard if they see the homeless being given more than they have, which could definately hurt in the long run.

    • Sean Masters says:

      @craptastico: do you know where the money is coming from? Perhaps finding that out would answer your question. I’m sure that others here would be interested in the answer as well.

    • greyer says:

      @craptastico: I don’t buy that argument. It’s used a lot, but there’s never many people who do that. People have too strong a work ethic (and are too easily bored) to allow themselves that, and while it’s easy to think of everyone else on earth as lazy bums just waiting for the chance to jump on the gravy train, they end up thinking exactly the same thing about us. People are a lot more responsible as a group than any of us give them credit for.

      • KittensRCute! says:

        @Kogenta: 2700/month PER UNIT.
        not for the whole building.

        thats about 2 times the maximum payable in unemployment in NYC.

    • Kogenta says:

      @craptastico: Frankly speaking, it’s only $2,700/month for the whole program they’re running there. Even in a deficit situation they can find that sort of money. They could just retain 1 less snowplow or something seeing as how I’d imagine that program ranges into the tens of millions.

      People are more bitchy when the government is blowing millions of dollars a month on a program. They generally overlook the programs that only cost hundreds of dollars a month.

      • Kogenta says:

        @Kogenta: I take that back, it’s per night. Still, compared to say snow removal budget, or police or something this is still “cheap” and the faster they can get these people back onto their own feet into their own houses, the faster they can start taxing them again. It’s an “investment” not an “expenditure” is probably how they pushed it though :p

  18. curtisawa says:

    That poor window salesman. Those homeless people get all the breaks. Its too bad all of us can’t quit our jobs and be homeless. Oh, wait, we can. Nevermind then.

    • dave_coder says:

      @curtisawa: There are always jobs at fast food places. Many (but not all!!!) don’t want them.

      • greyer says:

        @dave_coder: A much larger group are not mentally or physically healthy enough to hold down a job. And many more would have real problems putting aside the body chemistry changes, sleep disorders and stress reactions caused by chronic homelessness for a few hours a day to serve food.

      • southernbitch says:

        @dave_coder: actually, a lot of homeless people have jobs. these jobs pay minimum wage, and it takes A LONG MOTHERFUCKING TIME to save up first month’s rent plus security deposit plus utility turn on fees when you’re only making 5.15 an hour part time at mcdonalds.

        you have no idea what you’re talking about in regards to this issue.

  19. Anonymous says:

    While this seems like a nice idea on the surface, I wonder just how incented some of the new residents are going to be to get back on their feet and move into a dwelling of their own, especially when they know that any apartment they will be able to afford with a low paying entry-level type job will likely not be nearly as nice as the condo in the article.

    That said, I’m not advocating that people live in squalor either, just that in order for people to be encouraged to get jobs, etc., there needs to be a rational balance between what not having a job will get you, and what having one will.

  20. Anonymous says:

    First off, I know the neighborhood… There are no “luxury condo’s” there yet. Crown Heights is slowly being transitioned as one of the next “it” nabes of NYC. Second, I know this buiilding in detail, it’s not luxury at all. The units feature new appliances but they are just typical Sears branded entry level stuff. These people that live there now and that are reporting this are equating condo/new/steel brushed cheap appliances as luxury. This should not be the case. Just because you have a metal brushed fridge does not mean it’s quality. The building is ugly, the appliances are cheap and the neighborhood is not yet the up-and-comer it should be, not ghetto, but not really that nice either. People need to get their facts straight but I guess people that have never had anything consider new = to luxury. Also, the condo units cost that much because the builder was trying to ride the pre-recession wave of selling overpriced condos to fools in New York. Not luxury and not a great nabe.

  21. AMetamorphosis says:

    Personally I’m happy to see homeless people housed although I do agree with neighbors …

    Can’t we turn all the empty Circuit Cities & Linens N’ things into some sort of temporary housing ?

    • Adrienne Willis says:

      @AMetamorphosis: there was a homeless/women’s shelter down the block from my old place in Bk and it wasnt a blight or a problem. The issue was that most of the buildings were razed or vacated to make space for the new “NETS” stadium which made Pacific street very unsafe to walk down at night.

    • nakedscience says:

      @AMetamorphosis: You agree with the neighbors why, exactly?

      This was a FAILED unit. FAILED. Why, suddenly, the interest? Oh, yeah: The homeless are involved.

      • AMetamorphosis says:


        Please don’t make assumptions for me.
        I would be concerned because property value DOES go down. I know from experience. I owned a rental property beside a half way house for recovering drug addicts.

        Besides, I would still rather house someone homeless than not because that is the right thing to do.

        Do YOU have a homeless shelter or half way house beside yours ?

        • edwardso says:

          @AMetamorphosis: There was one a block from my husbands old apartment, for sexual predators, A boutique apartment company bought the building my husband was in so it obviously didn’t bother them

          • AMetamorphosis says:


            My experience was in a single family residential neighborhood. They got a variance. I was on good terms with them as well but when it came time to sell, yes having a half way house reduced the property value.

            We can all be as PC as we want to be but in the end, would YOU want to live beside one of these properties? do you expect your tenants to do so?

            And as far as sexual predators we had one 3 doors down from us and I was more than happy to pass out flyers to ALL the neighbors alerting them to such … you know, it IS public knowledge. I was personally very happy when he felt unwelcome and moved.

            • edwardso says:

              @AMetamorphosis: It isn’t something that would factor heavily into where I decided to live. My last apartment had lots of homeless people around it and I would have prefered they had a proper home. It saddened me to see them on the street and in my dumpster.

              • AMetamorphosis says:

                @edwardso: May I ask, did you own this apartment or were you renting?

                Respectfully, If its your investment & hard earned dollars @ stake it may impact your decisions on where to purchase.

                I DO want to see homeless housed … it IS the right thing to do.

                • edwardso says:

                  @AMetamorphosis: I rented, but my hard earned dollars went toward that rent. Though I do agree that part of the beauty of renting is that you can move easily if your neighbors piss you off. Homeownership isn’t for me.

        • nakedscience says:

          @AMetamorphosis: As others have said, this neighborhood isn’t the greatest to begin with. And the unit was failing.

          I do have a homeless shelter not very far from me at all. I live in the middle of the city.

          • AMetamorphosis says:


            Yes, the unit was FAILING … and I’m sure that now that it is a homeless shelter ( @ 90 dollars a night no less ) that will continue to reduce surrounding property values.

            I live outside of the city of Harrisburg and all of the houseing projects, half way houses & the like are located within city limits.

            Bring them to my neighborhood and they will reduce my property values as well.

            BTW, When I pull up the sexual predetors map the city is FILLED with them but the surrounding areas have very few and far between. They can “hide” in the city but not in a neighborhood where neighbors talk, look out for one another.

            My point is that housing the homeless IS the right thing to do but shouldn’t I get a say in where it goes since I have to foot the bill ( as a taxpaper ) ?

            • Powerlurker says:


              No, you shouldn’t get a say in the matter. As long as the transactions involved are all legal and no ordinances are violated then you should have no say in who a landlord decides to rent his apartments to. NIMBYs like you are the reason why homeless shelters all end up relegated to crappy places. The homeless have to be sheltered somewhere, no reason it shouldn’t be down the street from you.

            • KittensRCute! says:


              well said

      • JollyJumjuck says:

        @nakedscience: Maybe the developer wanted to sell the units rather than rent them (so the subsequent owners could, if they chose, rent them out). Buddy wanted to rent a unit, not own one. Maybe he is currently renting. His interest lay in renting the place, not buying it. Maybe he couldn’t afford the rent, but he was never given the opportunity to do so. Don’t presume to judge without all the information.

  22. HIV 2 Elway says:

    There is an abandoned mall on one of the KC burbs that I’ve always thought would make a good homeless shelter.

  23. savdavid says:

    I wonder how thrilled the owner will be after a year of wear, abuse, neglect and destruction of the property?

    • nakedscience says:

      @savdavid: ‘Cuz all homeless people are animals, amiright?

      • dave_coder says:

        @nakedscience: Have you seen a dwelling after the homeless have been living there for a while? I’m not saying all are bad but the homeless crowd usually brings in people who have no respect for property that isn’t theirs.

    • greyer says:

      @savdavid: This isn’t the first program to do this, and the residents are made responsible for maintaining their homes and given a lot of help and training in how to do it. It’ll be fine, certainly better off than if it were filled with college coeds.

  24. Elizabeth Anderson says:

    I desperately want that to happen here. We have thousands of brand new, poorly built, unaffordable “luxury” condo units sitting empty, and we have a huge homelessness problem.

    I would rather have seen the developer go bankrupt first, though.

  25. nakedscience says:

    “I’m a hardworking taxpayer, and I don’t think homeless people should be living better than me,”

    What a load of fucking rubbish. Not all homeless are lazy. God, I hate people sometimes.

    • dave_coder says:

      @nakedscience: He’s no saying that they’re lazy he’s saying that he, a person who has worked for his house, should have a nicer dwelling then the people who have not.

      • nakedscience says:

        @dave_coder: ….So, if I work hard, I should have a nicer house than my friend who doesn’t work (disability) and gets an inheritance and has a nicer house than I do? I should be outraged, eh? Sorry, I’m not.

        And please, you know that’s not what he was implying. He said, “I’m a hardworking taxpaper” implying that homeless people aren’t hardworking, or taxpayers. Both are almost always wrong.

        • Jessica Haas says:

          @nakedscience: Someone did a study on TV (I’ll google in a bit) that offered about 30 homeless people jobs. 25 or so of them turned it down, while the rest accepted but never showed up. What then?

          Or how about the guy I saw at the Social Security office with a brand new BMW? Am I not allowed to be offended that someone is getting checks from the govt. and drives a BMW when tons of people can’t get jobs to pay their rent?

          Just because you’re not outraged doesn’t mean everyone else isn’t, and doesn’t have a right to be.

          • edwardso says:

            @Jessica Haas: I’ve been to the social security office for reasons other than getting a check, like having a replacement card issued

            • Sparerib says:

              @edwardso: This is FAR beyond the realm of reality, but do you remember when Ol’ Dirty Bastard went to cash his welfare check in a limo? Classic.

      • wgrune says:


        You’re never going to win against this crowd.

        • nakedscience says:

          @wgrune: That’s because he’s wrong.

          • Sparerib says:

            @nakedscience: Are you going to wage a war against jealousy? Sorry that the world doesn’t fit into some homogeneous state where people are equal. If a guy feels like he got the short end of the stick he is liable to lash out about it. And yes, people are entitled to be able to nicer things when they work hard. It doesn’t always work out that way , but what kind of logic would imply otherwise?

            • HogwartsAlum says:


              They can lash out all they like; people can still think they’re being dicks. And take the word “entitled” and retire it. I hate it when people think they are ENTITLED to anything.

              • Sparerib says:

                @HogwartsAlum: So if I work hard and buy something nice with the money I earned, I’m not entitled to it? A sense of entitlement can be derived from many things. Having pride or obtaining something with intrinsic value is where entitlement comes from. You should really hate people that have a FALSE sense of entitlement. I planted 4 tomato plants last weekend and will work on keeping them healthy this summer, come late August I will have a sense of entitlement to eating the fruits of my labor. This particular guy feels he is more entitled to be living in one of these apartments than a person with no income. I don’t agree with him, but that’s where his sense of entitlement comes from.

              • Sparerib says:

                @HogwartsAlum: To be clear though, I wasn’t alluding to the man mentioned in the article when I mentioned entitlement. I was responding to nakedscience’s argument about whether or not people should have nice things.

  26. Trey Mahaffey says:

    this must be the “Change” nObama was talking about. it is better to be poor than middle class when there is a democrat controlled Washington.

  27. Anonymous says:

    So the city is able to offer luxurious lodging to people in need instead of some low-rent slums, at the same cost.

    I have seen what kind of welfare lodging was the Carter and Time Square Motor Inn on 43rd in the 80’s, and would not wish that on my worst enemy. The city paid MORE than $90 a day for those – and in 25-years-ago money.

    I miss the point. This is wrong, why?

    There is no misappropriation, money is well spent, users -who were and hopefully will again be taxpayers too! – are surprised for the better (for once), the owner is ecstatic and doesn’t need to go bankrupt… The sharks looking to buy the property cheap at auction may be upset I guess…

    Bad luck can hit anyone, anytime – you too. So which would you rather have if your turn comes – luxury condos or a run down hotel with tag marks and feces plastered on the corridor walls?

  28. tinmanx says:

    I live in NYC, I see no problem with it. These people don’t own the apartment, they’ll have to leave as soon as their able. If they have kids, this is necessary to provide a normal life.

    What I’m afraid of is some of these people may be homeless, but not broke, and they work off the books, live for free and keep all the money. I live near a projects and I go through it all the time, there are tons of really nice cars parked around there that I can’t afford.

    Or worst, their expectations get too high and refuse to live anywhere “below par”. It’s NYC, housing is expensive. I’m currently living in a little hole in the wall because it’s cheap. If my homeless shelter is 10x better than a place that I’m going to rent, there’s no way I’m leaving the shelter.

  29. Tom_Servo says:

    “I’m a hardworking taxpayer, and I don’t think homeless people should be living better than me,” fumed Desmond John, 35, a window salesman who wanted to rent one of the fancy apartments. “They said it’s not for rent. It’s a shelter. I was shocked.”

    Ahhhhhh, only in America can a good idea to help people actually make people mad……….

  30. greyer says:

    The city is saving a lot of money by doing this. The amount of services spent trying to track, service, rehabilitate, medicate and protect chronically homeless people added to the amount spent trying to keep them invisible to the rest of us is huge, easily more than $90 a day. It sound counter-intuitive but this is a cost-saving measure.

    Homeless people aren’t bums, and they aren’t lazy. I was homeless a few years ago and know firsthand just how desperately ill most of them are. Most have chronic, severe cases of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or PTSD. Most were addicted to drugs before becoming homeless or soon after; it’s terrifying being homeless and drugs offer an escape. A large portion of them have long histories of abuse and neglect and just never learned how to cope with the aftereffects. They’re systematically targeted by groups of drunk teens, the police and people who think it’s fun pretending to run a homeless person down. Trust me, it isn’t the welfare state free ride many think it is.

    There is no way on god’s green earth someone in that condition can hold down a job or even maintain their own health and living space, and it’s incredibly ignorant to assume they’re lazy. What energy they have is spent trying to protect themselves.

    As for working-but-lazy people getting angry and becoming homeless just to get a nice place to stay: not gonna happen. People like to gripe but they’re generally way more responsible than that. Add in that it really, really sucks being homeless and any that do will change their minds within a week, tops.

    • HogwartsAlum says:


      Thank you for pointing that out. I knew a few homeless people in California and it’s a very difficult lifestyle. I spent my share of time on people’s couches myself; although I never had to sleep on the street, it was kind of scary because I was so close to that.

      I can’t imagine what I would have done – probably called my family to come and get me. But most of the people don’t have that or they are estranged from anyone who could help them.

  31. Cat_In_A_Hat says:

    $90 per night x 30 or so night equals $2700 in rent?? I’m not from NY but I ass-u-me this is slightly higher than rent in the area mentioned. It seems to me if the city is renting the units to the homeless for this rate the developer is actually making a bit of a profit. New Yorkers please fill me in.

    • edwardso says:

      @Cat_In_A_Hat: that includes services

    • greyer says:

      @Cat_In_A_Hat: Services are taking up the majority of that, and you’d be lucky to find an apartment with a roof for $1300.

    • nakedscience says:

      @Cat_In_A_Hat: Please read the article in full.

      The $90 a night figure includes social services, housing help and job counseling designed to get families back on their feet.)

      • Cat_In_A_Hat says:

        @nakedscience: I did read the article but the figure I gave was the question of whether or not this would be the estimated rent value for a regular person renting the space if the developer decided to rent and include basic utilities for that same price of approximately $90 per night. I apologize for not being clear enough. Thanks (not) for the schooling.

  32. Corporate_guy says:

    90 dollars a day? WTH? An apartment can be rented for like 400-600 a month.

  33. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I’m guessing this is in a really bad area that’s just been marked for some kind of remodeling/restructuring? There are areas all over DC like that – places that a few years ago, would be avoided after 6 pm. But now they’re being cleaned up, and they’re starting to attract new businesses.

    When I was apartment hunting, I saw a brand new apartment building that was extremely nice – beautiful building. But it looked like it was in an older area. Of course, older doesn’t mean wretched and full of homeless, but I wasn’t a big fan of the way the area looked. The price for the apartment was amazing – but I think the neighborhood had a lot to do with it.

  34. Adrienne Willis says:

    It seems to me like it is coming full circle: big time developer comes in to poor neighborhood, displaces working families by skyrocketing property values, rents, etc to make room for the “pioneers” (read: white with much higher incomes) only to find that the higher income folks dont have jobs so therefore they cant afford these new luxury buildings so it now turns into a homeless shelter for the people that were displaced.

    I love karma.

  35. XTC46 says:

    Here in hawaii they build a very large shelter for homeless families for transitional living. The building is like a giant dormatory more than an apartment building as it has shared common areas and kitchens etc, but I was working for a large electornics reseller in the area and one thing each room had was a 32″ LCD tv, including locking wall mount to prevent theft. I was pretty pissed to see such a huge expense on a homeless shelter. The shelter it self was needed though, we have a huge homless population here becasue the cost of living is so high, and getting out of the state to move is so expensive, and its easier to be homeless here (good weather most of the year, tourists to panhandle from, parks with showers becasue of the beach, etc)

  36. TerribleDecade says:

    I don’t blame the homeless, at least they’re getting a helping hand. I blame the developers who only dream of creating condos from which they can profit and the government for not attacking them for it.

    • wgrune says:


      So they are supposed to build a condo building and not profit? What would the point of that be? Or is my sarcasm meter turned off today?

      • Adrienne Willis says:

        @wgrune: No i think that TerribleDecade is trying to say is that developers are greedy and only want to make as much money as possible in a poorer neighborhood and increase their profit without regard for the people that have already been living there and the government not doing anything to stop this displacement. (sorry about the run-on sentence)

        • wgrune says:

          @Adrienne Willis:

          Ok, so the city zoning board could turn the developer down. Since when is it a sin to make a profit in this country. We are CAPITALISTS afterall.

          • greyer says:

            @wgrune: Under our mayor a couple administrations ago, Indianapolis tried to close all the low-income, retirement, and other undesirable housing out of the downtown area. They went so far as to claim an eight-story subsidized apartment building for the elderly was a fire hazard and tried to close it, only to have safety officials from the fire department publicly contradict them. There was, in fact, a fire department immediately across the street equipped to handle a fire in that building.

            They were going to move them to a number of smaller, scummier buildings on the far east side where they’d have all sorts of trouble getting to their doctors, groceries, pharmacies, friends and entertainment.

            The push to close all the low-income housing was at the behest of condo developers looking for new places to build downtown. The city was more than happy to oblige because it meant losing a subsidy and gaining more tax money.

            Making profit isn’t a bad thing. Making profit at the expensive of throwing old ladies out on the street? Yeah, that’s a bad thing.

          • Adrienne Willis says:

            @wgrune: its not a sin but you cant push all the brown/non-white people out of NYC. Being born and raised in Harlem I saw what these developers did to my neighborhood. There was a time no one that was White would pass 96th street; that was considered the invisible border in Manhattan. As I was in high school in the late 90’s you saw that more and more non-brown people were moving in (103rd, 110th, 116th, 125th, etc). Luxury high rises went up, fancy, luxury stores, supermarkets, etc opened, all above the means of the natives of the neighborhood. The city would sell their buildings to developers, raise the rents so people were forced to leave or were forced out by other bullying tactics.

            So now my old neighborhood which nobody dared entered is over run by $1000 baby strollers, fancy coffee shops and executives. I make a good living and I cant afford to live there unless I had a roommate.

            The city needs to offer more options of affordable housing and lower the income maximums for this housing.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t the real story here the fact that the city is spending over 2 million tax dollars a year on this ($90 a night X 67 units X 30 nights X 12 months).
    If the city really wants to give out free rooms to the homeless, why don’t they just buy a building for less than the 22 million they’ll pay in rent over the course of their contract. They could’ve even waited for THIS building to return to the bank and bought it outright for that amount. Just foolish. If I were living and paying taxes in NYC, I would be pissed too.

  38. Bobby Smith says:

    I see no problem with this. Homeless people have very rough lives and not all of them choose this path. Let them live it up and be happy for once.

  39. cartagenero says:

    People are just HATTING. Why would the neighbors be mad at some homeless people catching a break… Doesn’t the fact that they are homeless give them an idea on how fucked up their lives are? what do they want to trade places?

    Let the homeless catch a dam break.

    And yeah I do live in NYC (Manhattan) and prices are ridiculous but I’m glad some homeless people are catching a break.

    • greyer says:

      @cartagenero: It’s amazing how childish some responsible people’s reactions can be. “It’s not fair!” always makes me wonder if the speaker thinks there’s some giant parent somewhere, lording out unequal portions of cookies.

      Never mind that this saves money and having a stable and safe environment is the first step and only way a homeless person can ever hope to get back on their feet. God damn it, they want their cookie.

    • amillians says:

      @cartagenero: Let the homeless catch a dam break.

      Well, I hardly think drowning them is the right answer here.

      What we really need is a 12-story block combining classical neo-Georgian features with the efficiency of modern techniques. The tenants arrive here and are carried along the corridor on a conveyor belt in extreme comfort, past murals depicting Mediterranean scenes, towards the rotating knives. The last twenty feet of the corridor are heavily soundproofed. The blood pours down these chutes and the mangled flesh slurps into these…

  40. Jessica Haas says:

    While I don’t quite agree with what that guy said, I can easily understand his point of view. It’s hard to be sympathetic when someone gets to live somewhere luxurious for free just because they’re homeless for whatever reason (which sometimes may or may not be their fault), when you work 40 hours a week trying to pay bills and put food on the table and you get squat.

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      @Jessica Haas:

      Well if course it is. But it’s not a permanent solution for them. It’s a way to use the property so it doesn’t sit vacant and get rundown and filled with druggie squatters, and the people in the condos can concentrate on making the most of the program without having to fight off giant rats or pickpockets in their sleep.

      I work 40 hours a week and I don’t have such a nice house but I’m not bitching. Well, maybe I do bitch a little; I’d be happy if I could get a new fridge. Mine’s a piece of moldy crap. Right now, I have a better chance of getting it on my own than they do, so I’m not going to begrudge them a nice place to stay.

  41. labeled says:

    I guess you can take the Consumerist out of Gawker, but taking the assholery out of the comments is too much to ask.

  42. Galactica says:

    Raymond also said “Damn…can’t wait to do some smack off those granite counter tops!”

  43. H3ion says:

    The only thing that really caught my attention was the developer. This is not Park Slope; it’s East New York. Who the hell builds a for-sale development in the $300,000 per unit range in a neighborhood where extra door locks are standard and not an option? Who does he expect to sell to?

  44. veg-o-matic says:

    @Guvmint_Cheese: Ewww, people without permanent addresses! It’s just like human waste!

    Get them off! Get them off!!

    • Guvmint_Cheese says:

      @veg-o-matic: Uhh, no. But both will drastically reduce the value of the property that you paid for. It’s like the government taking ten of thousands of dollars out of your pocket. If the government was also providing a payout to property owners for the reduction in value of their property when they approved the homeless shelter, no problem here. But I doubt they ever do that.

      • veg-o-matic says:

        @Guvmint_Cheese: I don’t give one single hoot about property values. They’re a fiction anyway.

        It’s the obsession with property values at the expense of, uhh, human beings that’s disturbing here.

        And note, the original “Neighborhood Angry Dude” in the article wasn’t upset about property values, but about those dirty homeless “living better” than he does.

        • Guvmint_Cheese says:

          @veg-o-matic: You must not be a property owner. I assure you property values are not fiction – I pay thousands of dollars in taxes every year based on them.

          I’m not opposed to homeless shelters at all. In fact, if there’s an area of town where they already exist, then I think it’s fine if the government allows another one. But when they just start arbitrarily putting them somewhere without public input, I would have a problem if I owned property near it.

          And I know what the original guy was upset about, and I don’t think he has much of an argument as the property owners in that area.

  45. allstarecho says:

    $90 per night times 30 nights = $2700 a month

    $2700 a month times 67 units = $180,900 a month

    $180,900 times 12 months = $2,170,800

    $2.1 million, almost $2.2 million, sure does seem like a lot…

  46. arthurborko says:

    I live in Brooklyn, not in that area, but I drive through it often enough. It’s a fairly dirty neighborhood. It really pisses me off that a bunch of people are living rent free in a luxury condo while I struggle to cover my rent in a 1 bedroom.

  47. Bluth_Cornballer says:

    If developers can shut down CBGBs to put in a John Varvatos store, then this seems about par for the course.

  48. Mecharine says:

    So, I guess xenophobia is in effect in this case.

  49. nocturnaljames says:

    it doesn’t benefit the tax payers who are paying for this.

    • zlionsfan says:

      @nocturnaljames: That’s kind of part of being a community and all that. Sort of like childless people paying property taxes that go into schools.

      Taxes are more about making people contribute to things they’d otherwise ignore. In the long run, they’re better off for doing it; the community can provide many more services to everyone, rather than making available only that which people can directly afford.

      If you’re lucky, you won’t even notice most of what you’re “paying for”. These people aren’t so lucky.

  50. Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

    Nothing new here in’s just another story of misappropriating & funneling money into some greedy individual(s) pockets.

    Honestly, it’s a shame how this city is run, from our municipalities, transportation, and local government.

    One hand washes the other, corruption, greed and in the interest of the self, these are the motives that drive those that ‘LEAD’ us !

    It reflects the devious and malicious nature of some human beings & how they control the masses by leaving them in the dark. Nothing new whatsoever!

    This is also how our country is ‘governed’! As whole we make less progress than we do moving froward for a greater good.

    Don’t mean to be a negative Nancy, but this is the way things are for the most part.

  51. kdollarsign says:

    who are you evil people?!!? the homeless man likes the big kitchen!!!! that is just CUTE! this is a GREAT, INSPIRING STORY.

  52. Doctress Julia says:

    Yeah, I liked that too. He likes the big kitchen! That is super cute! :)

  53. EBBlond says:

    Apparently, the neighbors think that the city should spend a fortune building a not-so-nice building as a shelter just to ensure that the homeless know their place and don’t enjoy anything nice. The discussion should be about whether the city is paying too much per unit; not whether there’s something wrong with using existing buildings for those who have nowhere else to live and suggesting that, because people are unemployed and homeless, it’s better than they deserve.