The Department of Homeless Services recently began renting out hotel rooms at Nomad's boutique MAve Hotel to temporarily shelter homeless families, angering local residents. Recalling similar disputes in Maspeth, Queens and Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn, some residents of Chelsea, Flatiron and Nomad are pushing back against what they deem an unfair saturation of homeless people in the neighborhood surrounding Madison Square Park.

"With no place to gather, The MAve’s new residents are frequently outside the hotel, around the corner, across the street and in Madison Square Park," reads an anti-shelter petition started by local resident Erin Werpin with 352 signatures as of this writing. "These men have been seen urinating in public, and there have already been many police actions."

"We understand that the Department of Homeless [Services] is struggling with great demand for housing, but this neighborhood is already providing more than our fair share," Werpin concludes. To illustrate this point, the petition lists local shelters as well as transitional housing for formerly-homeless New Yorkers. It also mentions a proposal to convert the La Semana Hotel at 25 West 24th Street into a 48-bed shelter—a plan the city says fell through after the hotel owner opted out.

Another recent anti-shelter petition from the group Third & 33rd, a self-described group of "voters, taxpayers, parents and residents of the Nomad, Murray Hill and Midtown area," accused DHS of violating the city charter's Fair Share criteria, which mandates an even distribution of city facilities, including waste treatment plants and sanitation garages, across city neighborhoods.

A spokeswoman for DHS said Monday that the city is currently renting rooms in three commercial hotels within Manhattan's Community Board 5—including the 72-room MAve at the corner of Madison Avenue and East 27th Street—for homeless families with children. It was not immediately clear how many rooms at The MAve are housing homeless families, though DHS said the hotel is still operating in a commercial capacity. Hotel management did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The MAve is "well-appointed and modern in style with 9 1/2 foot high ceilings enhancing the spatial quality," according to its website.

Last fall, following the triple stabbing murder of a mother and two of her small children in a Staten Island motel serving homeless families, Mayor de Blasio pledged to phase out the practice of renting out hotel rooms as temporary shelter for the homeless "as quickly as possible." But New York City's shelter population hit a record 60,000 last month, and DHS Commissioner Steven Banks has repeatedly alluded to the difficulty his office faces in meeting its "legal and moral" obligation to house all New Yorkers in need of shelter, in the face of hostile opposition at the community level.

"I don't think any New Yorker would want to see someone denied shelter because a particular group of people said 'Not in our community,'" Banks told reporters earlier this month.

Mayor de Blasio has also pledged to phase out cluster site housing—a Bloomberg legacy that resulted in homeless families being placed in sordid apartments at high cost to the city—by the end of 2018. With more and more homeless people entering the system, DHS has argued that it has no choice but to implement a "stop-gap"—rent out commercial hotel rooms as temporary shelter.

According to DHS, there were 6,000 homeless New Yorkers living in commercial hotel rooms as of mid-October.

Hotel shelters, not unlike cluster sites, have been criticized for inadequate services and poor security. In both Maspeth and Nomad, anti-shelter crusaders have mixed brazen statements about homeless people being dangerous and drug-addled—according to Third & 33rd, "the community is gravely concerned about the lack of screening for sex offenders, convicted violent felons and anyone with outstanding warrants"—with accusations that DHS is squandering tax payer money on inadequate accommodations.

From the MAve Hotel anti-shelter petition: "The rooms are tiny, there are no common spaces, no kitchen facilities, and security is inadequate."

The petition also accuses the city of contracting with The Mave "without input from the community." According to DHS, while city protocol requires community notification of any proposed full-time shelter facility, there is currently no such protocol for establishing hotel shelters.

DHS said Wednesday that the city is paying an average of $165 per night per room at The MAve, and that the hotel has 24-hour security, three case managers on site on weekdays, and residential aides.

The NY Post reported Monday that Assa Properties, which owns MAve, is currently being sued by the city for allegedly running illegal hotels out of rental buildings in Midtown, on West 55th and West 46th streets. Asked about its decision to contract with an alleged bad actor, DHS said that there was no "indication of wrongdoing" at MAve.

"Every community in New York City must do its fair share to help shelter homeless New Yorkers," said DHS spokeswoman Lauren Grey. "As the Mayor and the Commissioner have stated many times, we are currently using hotels as a bridge to help meet the needs of homeless New Yorkers."

In the case of Maspeth, local elected officials have taken a hard line against hotel shelters, recently filing a lawsuit against the city. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer took a more nuanced stance on Monday, stating that hotel shelters are the inevitable consequence of a city with inadequate affordable housing and shelter options.

“I share residents’ frustration," Brewer said. "When DHS is forced to use hotel rooms instead of shelter facilities, it’s more expensive, it’s a harder setting to deliver services, and safety and quality-of-life problems are more likely. But the real problem will only be solved if we can get more shelters up and running in neighborhoods around the city, and build more permanent affordable and supportive housing. We need residents’ help to make that happen.”