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Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center (LESHRC) application to the New York State Department of Health to operate an addiction outreach program in the areas outlying Union Square Park

At the monthly meeting of Community Board Five on Thursday, July 11, 2013, the Board passed the following resolution by a vote of 37 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, The Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center has applied for a geographic extension to a waiver from the AIDS Institute, the New York State Department of Health agency that has oversight of harm reduction programs, for the purposes of doing a syringe exchange program; and

WHEREAS, According to the AIDS Institute, Syringe exchange programs in New York State are associated with and may be responsible for at least a 50 percent and possibly as much as a 75 percent decline in rates of new HIV infection; and

WHEREAS, Recent research and evaluation conducted by Beth Israel Medical Center's Baron de Rothschild Chemical Dependency Institute of Syringe Exchange and the Expanded Syringe Access Demonstration Programs (SEP/ESAP) in New York State show that HIV seroprevalence in injection drug users (IDUs) had decreased from 50% in 1990 to 20% in 2000. These studies showed that seroprevalence in IDUs had declined further to an estimated 10-13 % in 2006, 8-10% in 2009 and as low as 4% in 2012. 

WHEREAS, The boundaries which fall within Community Board Five would be from 5th Avenue to Irving and from 14th Street to 20th Street, but will be excluding the Union Square Park as well as the DOT Pedestrian Plaza bordered by 17th Street and 18th Street, to conform with New York City Parks Dpt requirements; and

WHEREAS, LESHRC has received support from businesses surrounding Union Square Park as well as Manhattan Community Board 3 where they currently administer their program; and

WHEREAS, The hours of the outreach program have been dictated by research on when the best times are to engage with those in need and would be Mondays 5PM – 8PM, Wednesdays 11AM-2PM, Thursdays 8PM to 11PM, Fridays 5PM to 8PM, Saturdays 11AM to 2PM;

WHEREAS, LESHRC have agreed to the following stipulations and understand that violation of these stipulations would result in our disapproval:

  1. Should the community feel that the hours should be shifted, LESHRC will make every effort to accommodate those requests,
  2. Should LESHRC find that the above hours are not efficient times to reach out to their population, they must notify the Community Board of the new times,
  3. LESHRC will identify safe and discreet places to do syringe exchange and will not do exchanges in front of residential buildings, nor will they ever use tables,
  4. LESHRC will be in constant contact with the 13th Precinct and should the community need to reach them regarding any problems they can call the Executive Director at (917) 734-4177,
  5. LESHRC has agreed to appear to the EHHS Committee of Manhattan Community Board Five in July 2014 to be re-evaluated, and commits to maintaining a constant contact with the board office,
  6. If at any time, Manhattan Community Board Five deems that this program is being intrusive or not meeting our expectations of being a good neighbor, we will ask the State Agency to revoke the waiver; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends denial unless the applicant respects the aforementioned stipulations.

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