UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- There was a war of words Tuesday morning over a planned homeless shelter on the Upper West Side.
Parents and concerned residents gathered to rally at the site of a women's shelter under construction on West 59th Street, across the street from John Jay College.
The site is located next to Gertrude Ederle Playground, a popular spot for families who say there is a place those experiencing homelessness in Manhattan - just not there.
"Project Renewal wants to paint anyone who opposes their agenda as lacking compassion for the homeless and the drug-addicted, I saw these flyers all over, they're not fooling us and they're not listening," said concerned parent Rachel Nazarian.
The 200-bed women's shelter that aims to help rebuild lives is scheduled to open in 2025.
"How can Project Renewal claim to be helping people when they are putting our most vulnerable New Yorkers, the children, at risk?" said concerned resident Heather Groeger.
The nonprofit said it is doing everything possible to minimize the risk, including security, curfews and promised dangerous addiction meds will not be distributed on-site.
Project Renewal, who will build and run the shelter, released the following statement:
"We are excited to work with Hudson Companies to construct this modern, purpose-built women's shelter, with robust health and social services to help our clients on their paths to permanent housing. Our work here will build on our 55 years of experience providing health care, shelter, and wraparound support to our fellow New Yorkers."
The Department of Homeless Services also issued a statement saying they rely on providers like Project Renewal to provide quality care.
"We rely on exceptional not-for-profit provider-partners like Project Renewal to provide quality care and robust wraparound supports in safe and trauma-informed settings for New Yorkers experiencing homelessness."
However, the concerned parents said they have gathered nearly 2,000 signatures on a petition opposing the shelter and promise their fight is only beginning.
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