Homeless services officials stuck a bigger price tag on Westhab Inc.’s proposed homeless shelter at 6661 Broadway in North Riverdale last week.
The award amount for the pending contract increased inexplicably to more than $390 million — a 10 percent jump from the price listed in the city’s public contract portal just last month when Westhab first came into the picture.
The Yonkers-based nonprofit was selected to take over the shelter project from African American Planning Commission, Inc., which first proposed the site in 2021.
Only last month when Westhab secured the contract, the cost to build and operate the 130-bed shelter in Riverdale leapt more than 80 percent from when AAPCI had it.
At that point, the contract award amount was upward of $195 million.
Bronx Community Board 8 chair Laura Spalter shared her consternation with Mayor Eric Adams and Comptroller Brad Lander in a letter April 10.
It was her fifth to city officials on behalf of CB8 since Westhab was announced as the new provider for the shelter in March.
“It is inconceivable how this windfall has occurred without any hearing or even a modicum of public transparency,” Spalter wrote.
“We urge Mayor Adams and Comptroller Lander to review how and why this current contract has basically doubled, and secondly, to refer this matter to the appropriate city agency for review prior to it being received by the comptroller’s office.”
A social services spokesperson told The Riverdale Press the agency will return to CB8 with a representative from Westhab to present the new plans. Spalter said last week she was hoping to set a date in May or June.
The proposed contract will further expand Westhab’s vast shelter network comprising $1.7 billion in active contracts with the city. Homeless services administrator Joslyn Carter’s sister, Valerie Smith, is a vice president of the nonprofit corporation.
An email from Bronx social services director Jocelyn Bennett describes the future shelter as “purpose-built,” meaning it will be developed and ultimately be owned by Westhab. The property was purchased by 6661 Broadway LLC in 2016 for $1.46 million.