Community leaders and their elected representatives protested against proposed plans to establish a homeless shelter in the Alexander building on the Upper West Side.

The Department of Homeless Services has awarded a nine-year, private contract to Samaritan Village, Inc., to create the transitional shelter on West 94th Street for 200 homeless adult men.

Protestors believe the contract was given without appropriate consultation with Community Board 7, elected officials and residents.

"Somebody made a big mistake," said Congressman Charles Rangel. "It is really unfair for the city to put us in a position as though we're turning our backs on homeless people."

The DHS plans to trade the current long-term affordable housing units for short-term transitional care.

"We demand that you halt this project and this process until you have a real dialogue with the West-side community and come clean about what your long-term plan is," Borough President Scott Stringer said.

While they do recognize the need for housing for the homeless, opponents believe the use of single-occupancy buildings for transitional housing programs depletes the City's already vanishing affordable housing stock.