Judge Tosses Lawsuit Opposing Blue Moon Homeless Shelter on Orchard Street
The Blue Moon Hotel will become a temporary homeless shelter, as a community-based lawsuit opposing the action was overruled.
In January, three nearby landlords, two residents, and a restaurant collectively filed suit to block the transformation of the Orchard Street hotel to help ease pandemic-related overcrowding at city shelters.
However, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Frank Nervo ruled this week that the group of Lower East Side residents and businesses didn’t have legal standing to challenge the city’s contract for the shelter. Namely, because they didn’t bid on it and couldn’t prove negative impacts as members of the general public — a necessary legal requirement.
Further, the stated “claims of harm are entirely speculative” Nervo’s decision read.
The Lower East Siders challenged the Blue Moon shelter, claiming that the tight living situation in the 22-unit building – it is a tenement, after all – could cause an outbreak of COVID-19. The suit also claimed that the city aimed to bypass the normal review process under special pandemic rules by saying it would be a temporary shelter with a six-month term — yet the lease stipulates a monthly renewal option for up to nine years. The claimants alleged that the city really planned to extend the use of the shelter permanently.
Nevertheless, the Orchard Street shelter is planned for a February 15 open.
“As hoped and as expected, the court has affirmed our need to provide vital services and supports to our unsheltered neighbors, especially during this emergency period, and we look forward to welcoming New Yorkers in need to this high-quality site, where we’ll build on our progress helping nearly 4,000 unsheltered individuals come off the streets and get back on their feet,” a spokesperson with the Department of Homeless Services told the New York Post.