Public Advocate Submits Affidavit In Support Of Lucerne Hotel Residents

November 16th, 2020

Press Release

NEW YORK: As the New York State Supreme Court hears a case today on the City's efforts to remove homeless residents from the Lucerne Hotel and relocate them to the Financial District following legal action, Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams has submitted an affidavit in support of the Lucerne Hotel residents remaining on the Upper West Side. The residents are petitioning for preliminary injunctive relief, which the Public Advocate supports.

In the filing, Public Advocate Williams declares his support on grounds that "the City's decision-making concerning the Forced Relocation appears to have been arbitrary and capricious;" and that "the Forced Relocation would expose the Lucerne Petitioners to serious and potentially irreversible harm - a consequence that would be completely incompatible with the City's declared policy of compassionate and humanitarian treatment of homeless individuals."

He also argues that much of the opposition to residents remaining at the Lucern is both unfounded and stem from racial discrimination and political consideration, saying "Given that the majority of Lucerne Residents are African American men, this knee-jerk reaction of associating homelessness and their presence with crime is akin to closeted, de facto discrimination based on race. In short, the decision to forcibly relocate the Lucerne Residents constitutes an irrational determination by the Respondents, apparently based upon the Mayor's political motivations rather than sound humanitarian housing policy."

The residents of the Lucerne Hotel have thus far been able to remain there after a Temporary Restraining Order was granted last month. Today's hearing may decide whether there will be longer term relief of some kind, including a potential preliminary injunction.

The full text of the affidavit can be downloaded here.

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