Approximately 45 people from all along the block turned out on April 18 to hear about Goddard's plans to develop 235 West 107th St. Some came with understandable concerns born of our terrible experience with the men's shelter at 237. Others, both at the meeting and in the days afterward, expressed support for the new project. Most important, the meeting began a dialogue between Goddard and residents of the block, opening the lines of communication that are essential to developing a partnership and ensuring good neighborly relations.
A few points worth reiterating:
• 235 will not be a shelter; it will be permanent, rent-stabilized, supportive and affordable housing for men and women, with a full complement of social services and case management on site.
• Goddard is investing in a significant upgrade of the property, with a gut renovation that will add a private bath to each room; two communal kitchens to each floor; individually controlled heating and air conditioning; and -- at the suggestion of one attendee -- perhaps even a roof deck to expand the amount of communal space.
• The renovations will reduce the number of rooms at 235 from 95 to 68 (plus a super's apartment). For comparison, the shelter at 237 housed 120 men.
• Construction is now expected to begin May 15 and will last 18 to 24 months. Goddard requests that you immediately alert them to any concerns arising from the construction by email to: email@example.com
• Make your super or building manager aware of the major work about to take place. Now is the time to seal every gap that vermin could access, including under front doors and alley gates.
• New residents will not be moving into the building until 2025, and the process generally unfolds over months. As that time approaches, Goddard will provide us with emergency contacts so we can report concerns at any hour. In addition to the live-in super, security will be on site around the clock.
For detailed information about the project--which will be known as the Stephan Russo Residence--and about supportive housing, go to https://goddard.org/stephan-russo-residence/
The conversion of 235 West 107th Street into permanent supportive and affordable housing is expected to move forward in the second half of 2023, some two years after Goddard Riverside acquired the property for that purpose. Goddard, a nonprofit community-service organization, owns and operates four other buildings on this model, as well as a building providing affordable housing to seniors. Its executives met on February 15 with representatives of the West 107th Street Block Association (Nancy Cohen of 245, Kurt Pohmer of 272, and Carole Rosen of 210/220/230) to provide an update on the project’s status.
With construction financing expected to close in February, a gut renovation of 235’s interior will likely commence by midsummer and continue for at least 18 months. The project will transform what was originally a 95-unit SRO (and more recently an illegal hotel, the Morningside Inn) into about 68 individual units, each with a private bathroom. A social services suite, and possibly a medical suite, will be included. The entryway will be made accessible in compliance with ADA regulations, but the building’s shell will remain essentially intact.
When completed, 54 of the 68 units will be leased to people exiting homelessness; the rest will be made available to the general affordable-housing population. The tenants will be single adults of all ages and genders. Candidates will be referred by the city to Goddard, which screens and interviews each candidate and is permitted to reject one out of three. The eight SRO tenants currently in residence will be permitted to stay permanently; they will be relocated within the building as renovations progress.
On-site staff will include a director of social services and a director of facilities, as well as 24-hour security and a front desk staffed around the clock. A full roster of social services and case management will be provided to support 235’s tenants. Use of the services is not compulsory, but adherence to rules of residency and standards of behavior is, and Goddard will take violators to housing court if necessary.
Goddard will be presenting its plans to Community Board 7, probably in April. Executives also agreed to organize a community meeting with the block association in early summer, before construction begins, to answer any questions 235’s neighbors may have. In the meantime, more information about the organization and its work is available at https://goddard.org/
Ascension School on West 108th Street (along with 11 other Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York) will permanently close at the end of the 2022-23 school year. Kurt Pohmer, a trustee of Ascension Church, said the church is exploring its options but would ideally rent the building to a charter school rather than sell it.
We are sponsoring a weekly meetup to collect the trash littering the tree pits, sidewalks, and gutters along the block and the surrounding neighborhood. Supplies—trash bags, gloves, brooms, and trash grabbers—will be provided. To find out more about volunteering, please contact Carol at CarolKlein11@gmail.com. (October 2022)
Our NYPD sector officers are Tyesha McCloud and Shantal Melendez. They specifically are responsible for our neighborhood and should be your point of contact if you wish to report a disturbance of any kind. Detailed, real-time communication will enable them to develop a comprehensive understanding of local issues, and they may be able to respond more quickly than the 24th Precinct or 911.
Please copy their contact information to your phones and address books, so you can easily find it. The more we communicate, the better our sector officers can serve our community.
Officer Tyesha McCloud
Officer Yina Flores
24th Precinct: 212-678-4626
(Updated October 2023)
The Help USA shelter at 237 West 107th Street closed at the end of June 2022, when the operator's contract expired. The failure to renew the contract was reportedly the result of a dispute among members of the family that owns the property.
Some renovations appear to be under way, but plans for the property are unknown.
We are pleased to announce the formation of a Community Advisory Board for the Help USA shelter at 237 West 107th Street.
Members of the block association will meet regularly with the shelter's director, executives of Help USA, and our NYPD sector officers, as well as representatives of Community Board 7, the Department of Social Services, and elected officials such as Gale Brewer and Mark Levine.
Our goals are to develop a productive partnership and to work together to improve conditions on our block for all who live here.
See a tag? Now there's an easy way to let the city know about it. The New York Police Department has established an email address for tips about graffiti needing removal. Mail photos of the graffiti with location information to Graffiti@nypd.org. “If graffiti is observed, report it to us,” Lt. Anthony Lavino told the West Side Rag. “If that information isn’t related to us, we may not know about it.” (April 2021)