New York Shitty Day Starter: Homeless Shelter Town Hall

December 10, 2010 by
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

This (with one correction/clarification by yours truly) comes courtesy of Rami Metal, the Community Liaison for our City Councilman, Steve Levin. Rami writes:

Hi Heather.  I just sent out an email to folks about a Town Hall that we’re having on Monday night about the proposed Homeless Shelter.  Below is the text of that email.  I’ve also attached two fliers, one in English and one in polish as well as the letter that Councilman Levin wrote to Commissioner Diamond some weeks back.  Sorry that I didn’t get it to you sooner.  Please feel free to post this on the blog.


Dear Friends,

Please join Council Member Stephen Levin and Senator Martin Malave Dilan for a Town Hall Meeting this coming Monday to discuss the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) proposal to put a 200 bed men’s homeless shelter in Greenpoint.  The shelter would be located at 400 McGuinness Boulevard (SE corner of Clay and McGuinness) and would be run by Help USA. Council Member Levin has written to DHS (see attached letter) stating his objections to this proposal but DHS has indicated that it will continue to move forward with its plan.

Here’s the deal (as I see it):

  • Help USA has been hardly been forthcoming , much less cared to dialogue, with the very community who may be concerned— and rightfully so— about how their “intake center” for homeless single men will impact their community. This is not unusual; in fact, it seems to be their M.O.
  • That’s right, an intake center. In other words: not a homeless shelter per se, but a processing center. A rotating door.
  • Instead we had a representative of DHS tell us it might help our homeless problem. He himself said admission was voluntary and under our fair city’s current (and very Victorian strictures, I will add) this means one cannot drink if one wants shelter. I seriously doubt this will address our “homeless” problem. They will continue to select drinking over housing and more will die. On our streets.
  • For the above reasons I would like to see a total overhaul of how our “unhoused” are treated starting right here in Greenpoint.  By Bloomturd’s criteria many of the derelicts you see on the Garden Spot’s streets are not homeless— by virtue of the fact they have family here. Families which can no longer manage and are in no way qualified to deal with their loved ones’s problems. It’s an elegant way to fudge the numbers— but Bloomberg has proven himself to be very good at that kind of thing.
  • I would like to humbly suggest our fair city explore setting up a wet shelter . This has been done with success.

It comes down to this: If given the choice between drinking and a place to sleep at night chronic alcoholics tend to choose the first. Do you want our city/HELP USA to continue to preach morality (don’t drink and you’ll have a warm place to sleep tonight) and use it to justify placing a 200 bed intake center for single men as “addressing our problem”? Or do you want to get to the heart of our, Greenpoint’s, “homeless problem” and admit that the system we have in place is not working— and demand our city— DHS included— be held accountable? Here’s your opportunity to do just this.

December 13, 2010 6:00 – 8:00 P.M.
Polish Slavic Center
176 India Street
Brooklyn, NY 11222

Being against this shelter does not make you “anti-homeless”. Rather, it is I am against this homeless intake center and HELP USA’s refusal to be accountable to very community it will purportedly “help”.

If the petitions I created in Spanish and have collected are any indication, the rather large Hispanic community situated near this shelter— many of whom are recent immigrants— are against this shelter.

Miss Heather

P.S.: Did I mention Andrew Cuomo, our governor-elect, was a founding member of HELP USA? He is! As is his sister, Maria Cuomo Cole.


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