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In Last-Minute Switch, City Meets Deadline to Move Homeless From Shelter

By Emily Frost | November 3, 2014 11:43am
 Community members and elected officials from the neighborhood have voiced concern over the addition of emergency shelters.
Community members and elected officials from the neighborhood have voiced concern over the addition of emergency shelters.
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DNAinfo/ Emily Frost

UPPER WEST SIDE — The city's Department of Homeless Services removed 200 homeless people from a controversial shelter on West 95th Street by Saturday, just hours after warning that they wouldn't be able to make the Nov. 1 deadline.

Under pressure from elected officials and the community, DHS agreed in April to cut the population at the 400-person Freedom House shelter in half by Nov. 1. 

On Friday, just a day before the deadline, DHS press secretary Christopher Miller told DNAinfo New York there would be a delay in relocating all 200 residents, noting that 40 people would still need to be moved after the weekend.

The news frustrated advocates who have been at the forefront of the push to close the shelter, but they did allow that a short delay would be understandable given that people's lives were involved.   

Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal, who pledged to make the shelter one of her top priorities in office, expressed support for the work DHS was doing when asked Friday about the delay.

"DHS is steadily moving clients out," she said in a statement. "Given the growing numbers of homeless in New York City, I appreciate the hard work that DHS is doing."