From The New York Shitty Inbox: Voice Your Opposition to the Proposed Homeless Intake Center

January 12, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

This item comes courtesy of Ashley Thompson of City Councilman’s Steve Levin’s office. She writes:

Hi Heather,

I’m not sure if you received this yet, but this is the letter we’re asking people to sign. Our office will collect the letters and deliver them to DHS. We’re also working on Spanish and Polish translations and will get those out in the next few days.

You can download a print quality jpeg of this letter by clicking here. Signed letters can be returned to Mr. Levin’s office by any of the following three means:

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part III: Calyer is Clogged

December 28, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

If my inbox is any indication this would appear to be the winter of Greenpoint’s discontent. I can only hope to keep up. Nonetheless, here’s my third (and not final installment from the New York Shitty inbox wailing wall. JBG writes (regarding the above photograph):

I live on the corner of Calyer and Franklin Streets in Greenpoint. While Calyer is not an arterial, and is also not a truck route, the truth is that it plays a very important role, as it’s the first turn off from Franklin St. that connects northbound vehicles with McGuinness Blvd. There is a stalled vehicle in the middle of Calyer St., just north of Dobbin St.  No one has attended to this stuck vehicle. The plow came up Calyer St. but couldn’t get all the way through because of the vehicle. Clearly, they backed out of the street. The street from in front of the vehicle all the way up to Manhattan Ave. is also still unplowed.

I am watching vehicle after vehicle make a turn onto Calyer St., see that it is blocked, and then backing out onto the very busy and not adequately plowed Franklin St. because they realize they can’t get through Calyer St., and they also can’t turn right at Dobbin St., because that road is completely unplowed.

The one-way system in Greenpoint effectively is now shuttling everyone up Greenpoint Avenue. This, combined with the fact that Franklin St. isn’t adequately plowed, is causing traffic backups. It’s only a matter of time until there’s a terrible accident; I already watched an ambulance and a squad car back down Calyer last night because they couldn’t get through.

This street is also a critical passage way to the 94th Precinct and to the Post Office over on Meserole.

I tried calling 311 but they will not take the complaint (if you can even get through, which you can’t any more). The Mayor is on TV right now touting how many stalled cars have been removed (HAHAHA! — Ed. Note.), but yet somehow this one is being overlooked. Could you have someone look into this as soon as possible? I don’t understand how this hasn’t been attended to given the proximity of the 94th precinct, the presence of DOT this morning in the area, and repeated police cars backing down Calyer.

You can read what our City Councilman has to say per Brooklyn Heights Blog. Given that many of the snow plows that are used to clear streets hereabouts are located under the Pulaski Bridge at Clay Street*— and that I am a Greenpointer— I find the negligence here particularly inexcusable.

UPDATE, December 29, 2010: I am pleased to report this story has a happy ending! You can read it by clicking here.

Miss Heather

*A mere 15 feet away from our proposed 200 bed homeless intake center.

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

December 14, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

It has been a slow process, but I have managed to upload all save the last three videos from last night’s Town Hall meeting regarding the proposed homeless intake center at 400 McGuinness Boulevard. Hopefully I should be able to get those uploaded by tomorrow morning. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve uploaded!

Part VII: An attendee asks what we can do to get organized.

  • Mr. Levin recommends a demonstration at City Hall and reaching out to our local elected officials.

Part VIII: Ann Kansfield, the Pastor of the Greenpoint Reformed Church, speaks and admonishes attendees to look at the facts.

  • Fact: Greenpoint has one of the highest rates of alcoholism and mental illness in the city.

Part IX: Christine Holowacz and a Greenpoint home owner asks as to where the men this intake center will serve will come from.

  • Ms. Holowacz inquires as to what we can do about our needy.
  • This intake center will serve the entire city.
  • The clients for this center will be arrive via bus and the subway system (via train passes).
  • Last Thursday a man died of hypothermia at McCarren Park— and Mr. Levin explains why this should not have happened.

Part X: An attendee reemphasizes the need for information.

  • Mr. Levin passes along his web site, which he advises will contain all the information people will need regarding this proposed homeless shelter, how to contact their public officials, etc.

Part XI: A Kent Street resident speaks about the homeless problem on her block.

Part XII: A woman rebuts Pastor Ann’s statement, a question about zoning and a Greenpoint old timer speaks.

Part XIII: A continuation of the previous clip, a Clay Street resident and representative from Senator Dilan’s speak.

Part XIV: A resident voices her concern regarding this shelter being located adjacent to the Pulaski Bridge, another attendee states he has tried to contact HELP USA to no avail.

  • Mr. Levin provides the url for his WordPress blog (which can be found here).

Miss Heather

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

New York Shitty Day Starter: Homeless Shelter Town Hall

December 10, 2010 ·
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.

Rami

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.

TOWN HALL REGARDING HELP USA’S INTAKE CENTER
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.

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Disambiguation About “The Petition”

October 8, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

A person I call CHAT writes:

I have found resistance to the petition because people are not sure whether they are signing against it or signing because they want more information.  I don’t have the answer.  I have contacted John Liu’s office and have received a call today from Jorge, who is I believe in charge of public relations.  He has told me that the comptroller only gets the contract after it goes through other agencies, in this case being the Department of Homeless Services.  He claims that they only yay or nay it depending on if it is legal and financially sound.  They are not a liaison for the community in this capacity. He said that while he is happy to answer questions and point people in the right direction to obtain info or to voice their concerns and that as far as his office is concerned this is non-existent because they do not have any contract in their office as of yet.  He suggested that I contact DHS, our councilman, assemblyman, and senator and also attend the community board meeting (while it is not obligatory for HELP USA to attend as they are not a city organization).  I emailed Seth Diamond at the DHS with my questions via this site.

To disambiguate:

  1. The petition is against the shelter.
  2. The notice I wrote emphasizes the fact HELP USA seems not to be interested in dialoging with our community. A community which has (as many have observed) a homeless problem. To put it country simple: how can a Representative of DHS, Department of Homeless Services, assure us that having a 200 bed homeless intake shelter will not effect our quality of life when even he does not have any specifics about it? How will our homeless problem— which let’s face facts— is quite unique in nature be addressed if HELP USA won’t come to the table and discuss it with they very people who are familiar with it? The answer is: it won’t be.
  3. HELP USA has been asked, no less than three times, to meet with the community where their shelter will located. And while it is HELP USA’s right to refuse, does this foster much faith if/when their shelter graces our community? It doesn’t.

For the above reasons I would advise anyone who wants an open dialogue with HELP USA (regardless of their stance on the shelter) to make it known! To them, our elected officials and Community Board. On a closing note, here is a notice about said shelter in Spanish. I created this because quite frankly I was very disturbed by the lack of awareness about this shelter in our local Latino community. They, above all others, will be impacted by this shelter more than anyone.

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: More Information/Resources Regarding 400 McGuinness

October 5, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Although I have added this information to this post, I feel behooved to post it once again here. 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

400 McGuinness Petition: Now In Polish

October 5, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

I asked for it— and here it is: a draft of the petition protesting the proposed homeless shelter at 400 McGuinness Boulevard in Polish. You can download a printable version of this document by clicking here.

Miss Heather

P.S.: Special thanks go to Christine for her translation services.

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

October 1, 2010 ·
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
EMAIL:

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
EMAIL: dilan@senate.state.ny.us

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
EMAIL: bk01@cb.nyc.gov

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.


Notes From The Joint Public Safety/Human Services Committee, Part III: Wrapping It Up

September 29, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

After much toiling I have managed upload a little more footage. Methinks moving forward I will continue adding have added them to this post* for the sake of simplifying an already nightmarish problem (in other words: check back!). Otherwise, I have also decided to use this post to answer a reader question and air my feelings on this subject. Without further ado, here we go!

*NEW September 30, 2010* A Clay Street Resident Speaks

*NEW September 30, 2010* An Old School Greenpointer Speaks— About The Greenpoint Hotel, Mostly

Note: despite his cantankerous nature I rather liked this guy. If for no reason because he was/is responsible for this. When I asked him about it he told me there was  a woman who constantly let her poodles crap on his flowers.

*NEW September 30, 2010* George Diaz Speaks

*NEW September 30, 2010* Jennifer of the Greenpoint Business Association Speaks

Observation: Jennifer has clearly not read my blog. Or bothered to follow— much less attend— Community Board meetings. Had she done any of the previous she’d know the new owner of the “Hotel” has attended a Human Services Subcommittee meeting, wants help from the police and made it pretty well known he wants to hear from local residents. So it goes.

*NEW September 30, 2010* A Rebuttal & Rundown of the proposed Shelter’s P’s & Q’s (including a 10:00 p.m. curfew)

Ann Kansfield of the Greenpoint Reformed Church Speaks

A Representative from the Department of Homeless Services Responds

The Subject Of Property Values Arises

A Representative of Nydia Velazquez Office Speaks

Community Board 1 Member Esteban Duran Speaks

Note: I can’t argue with him, save perhaps adding that while New York City’s track record for addressing homelessness might be subject to debate, this administration’s success in creating homelessness is difficult to dispute!

A Neighbor of the Greenpoint Hotel Speaks & Very Fascinating Diatribe About Bicycle Brake Theft and Cab Vandalism Ensues (among other things)

Observation: This guy was the only one who seemed to faze the DHS Representative, which, as a friend of mine noted:

Must have been the Captain of his High School Debate Team.

The End (Or: My Flipcam runs out of memory but not before Georgie Diaz gets the DHS Representative to assure him that he is wiling to have Mr. Diaz pay him a personal visit lest any issues with this shelter arise)

Observation: The laughter you hear comes from people who know Mr. Diaz.

A Reader Question

As I have previously mentioned I received a question from a reader on Franklin Street resident. She writes:

Thank you for the information on the homeless shelter and the meeting. I could not attend last night. Do you happen to know if the homeless shelter is a transitional place for recently released male inmates? That would concern me. Or is it a homeless shelter for those needing temporary assistance while finding a home? Did the folks at the meeting talk about who will be living there?

First up, I am not an expert of such matters— and Monday’s meeting was not exactly illuminating. Here’s what we were told: the proposed shelter is for homeless single men. Aside from a passing mention of some work-fare kind of arrangement, a 10:00 p.m. curfew and providing security nothing else was really said. Would I rule out that there will be ex-convicts in this group? Absolutely not.

An Op-Ed From Yours Truly

In closing and despite the fact I have already published the following (albeit via comments), my thoughts on the matter, I want to feature to feature it in a proper blog post— and add a few more observations. Here we go.

Having given the evening some thought (and I needed some time to think about this because quite frankly I was pretty overwhelmed):

1. The presentation by DHS really wasn’t a presentation at all. If I may offer some constructive criticism it would have been that DHS give an actual presentation showing people how this process works and then lead into a discussion about the proposed shelter for 400 McGuinness. This would have put everyone on the same page and eliminated a lot of duplicate questions. What’s more, when I have someone tell me (as this rep did) that studies have shown that a homeless shelter will not (or will positively) effect property values (to cite an example) I am more than a little skeptical. Show me the study. They said this shelter will help our local homeless problem. How? Once again: show me.
2. Where the hell is HELP USA? They have been invited to speak and have declined. Repeatedly. This would indicate to me that they either do not care about the people whose lives will be impacted by this shelter— or that they have something to hide. Sorry, but merely taking our City Councilman on a tour of another shelter (and a women’s shelter at that) is not good enough.
3. If my memory serves me correctly the reason HELP USA declined to speak is because this RFP is under consideration. Yet, the reason we had the hearing is so people could tender their two cents/concerns about it. How, may I ask, are people able to do that if they do not know the specifics of said proposed shelter? This strikes me as not only being ludicrous, but it will only make people feel more powerless/in the dark (and in the clarity of hindsight I think this was the root of a lot of the anger we saw that night) and facilitate even more speculation.

The deal is this (and I am going to be brutally honest): I am not happy about 200 homeless men residing a few blocks from my home. I cannot think of many people who would embrace this prospect. While I am very willing to understand some of the people this shelter would serve are probably good people who need a leg up, the fact is others are on (as one attendee put it) on “the fringe of society” for a reason. I am talking about people who have serious problems— and may be prone to violence. I am hardly the kind of person who sees a bogeyman around every corner. I am simply crunching the numbers— and the fact is with 200 men the odds are you are going to have some bad apples. Which brings me to the subject of location…

Contrary to what the Human Services chair said, this shelter would not be in the middle of a residential community. Its location (in my opinion) is more problematic: it is located in a rather secluded area which straddles both an industrial and residential corridor. As crazy as it may sound, I would feel more comfortable if this proposed shelter were to be located somewhere with more foot traffic/eyes on the street. There are a lot of places someone with nefarious purposes can (for wont of a better term) “hide” in this area. In addition (and I write this as someone who has lived on Clay Street) I too have concerns about its proximity to the Hotel. While I probably take a much more moderate position on this establishment (by virtue of the fact in the early 2000’s it was much worse and I know someone who lives there. Not everyone who lives there is bad.) the fact is there are still problematic tenants there. I live and work close to this hotel. I know who these men are— if not by name— and last weekend I saw one such resident harangue a senior citizen, quite menacingly, on the street. This gentleman was clearly unbalanced. I guess what I am trying to say is I have to wonder exactly how the population of this proposed shelter is going to mix with people such as this gentleman. And mix they will. I see the potential for serious trouble in this respect and I do not find the fact we were given no details whatsoever about what security measures will be put in place at this shelter very reassuring.

I could go on and on. But I keep coming back to one thing: where’s HELP USA? They alone are in the position to inform our community as to the shelter they have proposed and when asked to do so— repeatedly, I would like to add— they have declined. In other words, my biggest issues are a lack of transparency and a seeming unwillingness to engage the members of the community regarding a project that will undoubtedly impact their quality of life. How can I honestly believe (as was reiterated over and over Monday night) this shelter is going to help serve the local homeless population here if they very entity behind said shelter won’t have a dialogue with the very community where said homeless people are located? The answer is I can’t.

After the writing the previous I decided to go for a walk. It was a particularly atrocious derelict construction site that it hit me:

Greenpoint was promised a number of things during the now infamous rezone. Five years later a number— if not most— of these things have yet to happen. Do we have any new park space? For all intents and purposes: NO. Affordable housing? None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. But we do have plenty of Bloomblight and “luxury apartments”! And now we face the prospect of a homeless shelter. Am I the only person who finds this wretchedly comical?

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that this makes me very, VERY angry. Not only should the city keep its promises before it demands anything else from this community, but by effectively enabling HELP USA to (seemingly) evade any semblance of community process/transparency/feedback it is a big slap in the face to the very people— many of whom were present Monday night, I will add— who made this community a place where people like me (and you) want to live in the first place. They— we— deserve better than this.

Miss Heather

*Save one. That being what the Chair of Community Board 1, Christopher Olechowski, has to say. You can find that one here. This way all the videos will be in some semblance of chronological order.

P.S.: Those of you who object to this proposed shelter will probably be interested to know there is a petition in the works. As I understand it, it has just shy of 500 signatures to date and is being collected by Community Board 1. To download a printable version of this petition (for distribution and signing) click here.

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