From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part II: Dispatch From The Town Hall Meeting

As many of you are aware yours truly attended the public hearing and monthly meeting of our local Community Board instead of attending the Town Hall forum regarding the proposed (and withdrawn) proposal for a homeless assessment center at 400 McGuinness Boulevard. This is a shame because if the following person’s account of said meeting is any indication, I missed a rather provocative evening. S writes:

Dear Miss Heather, While you were attending the Community Board 1 meeting this past Tuesday, I was patiently waiting with a room full of older Greenpointers and lively Polish folks for Councilmember Stephen Levin to show up at the town hall meeting scheduled for the same time. Naturally, Mr. Levin was about 45 minutes late. No one really seemed to mind and when he did arrive and announce that the proposal for the men’s intake shelter at Clay and McGuinness was withdrawn, he was met with applause. The excitement didn’t last for long and seemed to come to halt when the representative from NYC DOH took the mic. Although a shelter is not going in at that location, nor any other location in Greenpoint for the time being, people were still very pissed. At one point, a rather beautiful young Polish woman yelled out that if a shelter did go in in the future, “it would be torched, it would be burned to the ground (emphasis mine — Ed. Note).” Mr. Levin and his staff struggled to gain order, and when I left about 45 minutes in, people were ignoring his request to raise hands and speak in turn and were yelling out and over each other. My understanding of the situation is that all attempts to put in a shelter at that location have been aborted. The people that currently live in the building are filing to have more control over the rental property and to co-op it. DOH has no further plans at this time to put in a shelter in Greenpoint, nor does Help USA. So the passion at this particular meeting seemed to me to be passion wasted. Thought maybe you would be interested at the goings on over at the Polish National Home.

New York Shitty analysis: See what happens when our Public Safety Chair (who, it should be noted, has been present at every prior such meeting) goes on a vacation? Total and utter chaos.

In closing, here’s a more concise account of this event I received from a chap we’ll call D:

Meeting Summary: Help USA “Organization that would manage homeless shelter” formally withdrew their proposal to the Department of Homeless Services “Government agency that would pay Help USA to run the shelter”. A disagreement on how much DHS would pay Help USA was the formal reason. The DHS representative mentioned that no other proposals are on the board, although they will consider future ones. Councilman Levin argued strongly that the over 500 letters written had an impact on negotiations. DHS rep said that if the proposal was accepted, it begins a process that considers community input and current government projects in the area already having an impact (Newtown creek, garbage transfer stations.) I brought up the point that the owner of the building is the one who will start any process of selling/leasing his property for this use and he has refused to come to meetings. I will follow up with Steve Levin regarding how to reach out to the owner directly.

Miss Heather


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