New York Shitty Day Ender: Live From The Town Hall Meeting Part I

I just back from the Town Hall meeting organized by Steve Levin and Senator Martin Malave Dilan. I will be uploading footage throughout the evening so check back in! In the meantime, I will leave you with this image (from the Polish Slavic Community Center) to contemplate.

So slowly— but surely— the footage is uploading!

Part I: Stephen Levin explains why this Town Hall meeting is being conducted and why neither the DHS nor HELP USA are present. Synopsis: This was intended to be a “community meeting” to form a strategy to fight said homeless shelter. (Curious given NY1 was present replete with a van and reporter.) Mr. Levin also touched upon the “fair share” issue and in so doing mentioned our waste water treatment facility. He stumbled a bit as to how much and whose shit we get. My answer— and mind you, this is a hobby for yours truly: a lot. As to whose poop we process. This following map (which can be found at the Visitor’s Center at the Newtown Creek Waste Water Treatment Facility).

We get Wall Street’s shit. The Empire State Building (from whose observation deck which our most famous landmark is purported to be seen): their crap, is our crap! We also get the merde and vomitus from the East Village and Lower East Side. Be it from “uppity bohemians”, the “frat folks” they allegedly oppress or otherwise. All I’m saying is much of Santacon 2010 puke’s and piss found its way to my backyard. Simply put: we get a lot of shit.

  • Mr. Levin clarifies what an “assessment center” is. E.g.; homeless men will be bused in or travel here by subway, spend anywhere between two weeks or a month (so as to be “assessed”) before they dispatched elsewhere. As he put it: a big revolving door.
  • Mr. Levin talks about the homeless/unhoused problem here and why HELP USA’s shelter will not help our local homeless problem. In fact, it will exacerbate it.
  • Mr. Levin speaks about a proposal he made to the former head of the Department of Homeless Services regarding our homeless population.

Part II: Stephen Levin goes into the 3/4 house (as opposed to halfway house— I honestly didn’t know there was a difference) at Clay Street as being problematic in and if itself and continues to explain how the homeless shelter as proposed by HELP USA will not help our unhoused.

  • Levin mentions that he has met with residents of the Greenpoint Hotel/SRO 3/4 house— whatever you want to call it— and they have made it known their living conditions are appalling.
  • Steve Levin takes a hands-up vote as to who is for and who is against this shelter. I refused to film this— but I can attest not a single person present was for it.

Part III: Miezsko “The Coffee Man” Kalita (who is also the Public Safety Chair of Community Board 1) speaks and gives a recap of how Community Board 1 has tried to initiate a dialogue with HELP USA repeatedly and to no avail.

Part IV: Levin explains how the building in question, 400 McGuinness Boulevard, falls under the loft law.

Part V: Rent stabilization is an abomination— or this guy is very confused. I honestly cannot tell which.

Part VI: I am concluding this post with this clip because what this woman, who hails from Community Board 3— in Bedford Stuyvesant— has to say about their dealings with the Department of Homeless Services is illuminating. We should be very grateful she took the time to share her experience with us. Seriously.

  • Do not fool yourself; what happened in her neighborhood can happen in ours. What’s more, it looks like we will have a rather nasty fight ahead of us.

The rest the the footage from tonight’s meeting can be found here.

Miss Heather


8 Comments on New York Shitty Day Ender: Live From The Town Hall Meeting Part I

  1. Lisanne! on Mon, 13th Dec 2010 10:43 pm
  2. Just as interesting. They have a water cooler and a water fountain. I love having choices.

  3. missheather on Mon, 13th Dec 2010 10:45 pm
  4. This is a very nice establishment!

  5. rutila on Tue, 14th Dec 2010 9:06 am
  6. Are you softening up to Levin? I was under the impression you didn’t like him — or didn’t like his buddies — but it seems like he’s standing up for the community on this issue.

    Regardless, thank you for remaining political in your own way. And I say that with the utmost praise and without the regular connotation of “political.” It’s very thoughtful of you to use your time to document these important events.

  7. mbrooklyn on Tue, 14th Dec 2010 9:41 am
  8. last nights meeting turned me around. I had not been “in favor” but rather, interested in engaging as a volunteer (i teach drawing to kids in a homeless shelter, very different, I know, but the premise remains the same)– however, the super transitory nature of an assessment shelter vs a more “stable” shelter is troubling, and hoping that anyone can hop off the train and find 400 mcguinness with ease is beyond optimistic. An intake shelter should be somewhere BUSY, not tucked away in a corner of a residential neighborhood. ANYHOW, after an acris search, it turns out (and it might have been resolved, its from 2008) that there is a partial stop work order on the bldg. wonder if this has significance.

  9. mbrooklyn on Tue, 14th Dec 2010 9:56 am
  10. HELPUSA is on facebook:

  11. missheather on Tue, 14th Dec 2010 9:48 pm
  12. A transient population— be they homeless, tourists, students, etc.— does not stabilize a community. Quite to the contrary. In addition, I agree with you regarding the location being too secluded for comfort.

    Stop work order: if what I have heard is correct apparently owner of this property tried to illegally convert his building to residential.

  13. jh on Sat, 18th Dec 2010 1:47 pm
  14. This was definitely an informative meeting, and the 24-hr detail (associated with an intake center) was not incredibly reassuring. I’m also really concerned about the location of the employee booth in relation to the platform on the Greenpoint G station (not to mention, the India St exit) if we assume most of the clients will be coming and going through this stop.

    Luckily I just happened to see the announcement for the meeting here soon beforehand…even for those of us who are “wired,” it can still be difficult to keep up with this unless you diligently check certain sources every day. For the next meeting I wonder if Gothamist would give us a bit of press? Otherwise, I wonder if just stapling flyers (complete with tear-off flaps) on poles might be the best way to go, especially on Manhattan Av and outside subway entrances? I’d be happy to “adopt” a few blocks. Maybe also put a bold header title in English, Polish, and Spanish followed by short translations and the meeting time/place.

    Help USA also has an active Twitter account! They haven’t responded to my thoughts yet, so maybe we need to send a few more.

  15. missheather on Mon, 20th Dec 2010 1:50 am
  16. Having been in on this from the get-go, the deal breaker(s) as far as I am concerned are:

    1. No dialogue with the community— our community, which has a homeless/unhoused problem— whatsoever.
    2. A lot of people at this meeting mentioned how hard this “intake center” would be get to, e.g.; a long walk from the G or 7 train. But no one, including myself, thought about how hard it will be for “dissatisfied” clients to leave. Given the high tolerance for homelessness here I want to know what the attrition rate for Help USA’s intake centers are. Because whatever that number is is what we will be probably dealing with if/when this shelter gets approved. Month after month, year after year.

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