The Department of Homeless Services has issued an edict/threat to community boards throughout the city. In a nutshell, they want them to suggest locations within their boundaries to site shelters. First off, shelters by and large don’t work and serve mainly to enrich the politically connected not-for-profits that run them. But even if they actually provided a valuable service, the DHS refuses to release stats that reveal where the biggest need for shelters are geographically or what type of clients are being generated locally, citing “privacy”. You can’t house all of a district’s homeless under one roof, and this info would be needed in order for a community board to be able to suggest appropriate locations for shelters. DHS’ attitude toward the general public is one of the main reasons for resistance to new shelters, but they are operating too arrogantly to understand that. In related news, a zoning text amendment aimed at limiting hotels in manufacturing zones includes an important caveat. The Commercial Observer reports, “the zoning text amendment does include a potentially controversial carve-out for new hotels that will be used as homeless shelters. Hotels ‘operated for a public purpose’ will not need to go through the special permit process, and hotel-to-shelter conversions will also be exempt from the permit requirement, according to zoning documents from the Department of City Planning.” So much for eliminating hotels as shelters.