From The New York Shitty Inbox: A Greenpoint Resident/Landlord Speaks

October 1, 2010 by
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

A gentleman named John writes:

As you know there is a proposal in from HELP USA. They want to create what they call a men’s shelter or transitional housing. I have been in the neighborhood for close to 40 years. I can remember when the prostitutes and drug dealers ruled that area. Now it (is) finally clean and we are going to have 200 plus men roaming the area. If you can remember the old Greenpoint hospital. The crime you can’t even imagine ask anyone who lived near or around it. This will no doubt be the same situation. I have tenants in the neighborhood. They threaten to move and I don’t blame them. We need help but not from this organization. Can you please comment and give us some help?

Where do I begin? I have pretty much said my piece on the matter. But to summarize (once again): first and foremost I am bothered by the fact this organization has been asked no less than three times by our local Community Board to meet with the public and discuss their proposed shelter. Each and every time HELP USA has declined. This strikes me as being anything but demonstration of good faith on their part. In addition, it denotes a certain level of arrogance and makes me wonder exactly how responsive this organization is going to be if (or I fear: when) this shelter commences operation and issues (invariably) arise. Given their silence thus far I’d say the outlook isn’t looking very encouraging.

As I have (also) mentioned, a petition is being circulated to demonstrate our community’s opposition to this project. You can download a printable copy of this document by clicking here. After noting there were virtually no Latinos whatsoever at Monday’s hearing (and taking into account that the area where this shelter will be located has a rather substantial Hispanic community) I have taken the liberty of creating a similar such document in Spanish.* You can download this by clicking here.

Lastly, I would advise John (and anyone else who opposes this shelter and/or HELP USA’s intransigence) to contact their local elected officials:

Steve Levin, City Councilman, 33rd District
District Office
410 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 875-5200
FAX: (718) 643-6620

State Assemblyman Joseph Lentol
District Office
619 Lorimer Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 383-7474

State Senator Martin Dilan
District Office
786 Knickerbocker Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11207
(718) 573-1726
FAX: (718) 573-2407

And of course there’s your local Community Board (which is collecting the aforementioned petition):

Community Board 1
435 Graham Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11211
(718) 389-0009
FAX: 718.389.0098

Chances are very good I probably forgot some folks on the above list. I have been up since 5:47 this morning because my bedroom was being inundated with several gallons of rain water (and as a result am more than a little discombobulated at the moment).** For this reason I would be very grateful if anyone reading this tome would point out anything/anyone I might have overlooked via comments or email at: missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com. Thanks!

UPDATE, October 5, 2010: Elizabeth writes:

Thank you again for all of the information you have sent readers about the homeless shelter at 400 McGuinness Blvd in Greenpoint.

I called Councilman Levin’s office to voice my concerns about this 200-bed facility. I spoke to Rami Metal who said the councilman has concerns about the shelter as well.

Rami suggested I call Comptroller John Liu’s office to voice my opposition to the new shelter and ask that Liu not give final approval to the shelter. Rami said very few RFPs get nixed but calls from residents might help.

Here is the number folks can call to voice their concerns in case you want to pass this on to your readers:
Comptroller John Liu
Community Action Center
212-669-3916 phone

Next week Councilman Levin is taking a tour of another homeless shelter run by Help USA in Brooklyn. His office will send out information about what the councilman learned about the group and its operations. If readers want to be on the email list, they can email rmetal (at) council (dot) nyc (dot) gov.

Miss Heather

*If someone could help me knock out a petition in Polish I would be very appreciative. You can download a Polish version of this petition by clicking here.

**Humor me: I’m a more than a little cranky.


2 Comments on From The New York Shitty Inbox: A Greenpoint Resident/Landlord Speaks

  1. slr on Fri, 1st Oct 2010 2:47 pm
  2. Thank you for this post- what a frustrating situation.

    I’m so sorry to hear about the water inside your apartment! I hope all is cleared out and well!!

  3. missheather on Fri, 1st Oct 2010 11:35 pm
  4. @ slr: Your photo of the guys at OTB cheered me up considerably.

    Nonetheless this proposed homeless shelter really bothers me. HELP USA isn’t willing to come to the table, so to speak, yet we get a song and dance from a rep of Department of Homeless Services assuring us this shelter will not impact— and will help— our community. How can that happen if HELP USA, the very entity who wants to erect said shelter, cares not to initiate a dialogue with the very community, Greenpoint, where this shelter will be located? There’s a term for this kind of thing. It’s called “stonewalling”:

    1. Informal
    a. To engage in delaying tactics; stall: “stonewalling for time in order to close the missile gap” (James Reston).
    b. To refuse to answer or cooperate.
    2. Sports To play defensively rather than trying to score in cricket. Informal
    To refuse to answer or cooperate with; resist or rebuff: “I want you to stonewall it, let them plead the Fifth Amendment” (Richard M. Nixon).

    Per the Free Dictionary:

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