Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Elected Officials Find Dept. Of Homeless Services' Response to Questions Regarding Proposed Shelter In Carroll Gardens "Inadequate And Unresponsive"

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Last week, Councilmember Brad Lander, Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Senator Daniel Squadron, and Assemblywoman Joan Millman wrote a joint letter to Seth Diamond, Commissioner of NYC Department of Homeless Services, in regards to the proposed homeless shelter at 165 West 9th Street. In the letter, our elected officials cited the lack of public process, the tight space for 170 men in the 10-unit building as well as the absence of a plan to provide social services for them.

Yesterday afternoon, Markowitz, Lander, Squadron and Millman received a response from Commissioner Diamond.
In the letter, Diamond states that:
-use of the building for 170 single adults is compliant with Part 491 and all applicable code and occupancy requirements.
-recent complaints to NYC's Department of Buildings were found unwarranted after inspections.
-Housing Solutions USA/Aguila Inc,, the non-profit organization that will be managing the shelter will have a service rich team consisting of 47 staff members that "will coordinate services to identify clients' barriers to permanency, establish a service plan and assist residents in obtaining permanent housing as quickly as possible."
-the building will be secured 24/7 and security cameras will be installed.
-extensive background information about Aguila and the provider's officers will be conducted.

According to Councilman Lander, who posted Diamond's response on his website:
My colleagues and I find this letter to be inadequate and unresponsive to our questions and the community’s appropriate and reasonable concerns. DHS failed to provide building plans, describe the construction work that is underway, or address the Certificate of Occupancy issues; failed to provide the service plan proposed by Housing Solutions USA; failed to provide sufficient information about the security program proposed by Housing Solutions USA; failed to address the use of the City’s emergency contracting rules to rush through this proposal without community input or good public process; and failed to address the potential conflicts-of-interests identified (concerns which have been amplified in the past week, as the result of additional information that has come to light, first in New York Times here, and then covered in detail by Capital New York here and here).
Representatives of   NYC Department of Homeless Services and Housing Solutions USA/Aguila Inc will be available at the community informational meeting tonight, October 24h, 6:30 PM in PS 58's auditorium.


Anonymous said...

It is important to note, the majority of the room last night DID NOT object to locating any homeless facility in Carroll Gardens – quite the opposite as calls for homeless families were made by many.

DHS wants house 170 men in a community facility space and apartments with lot-line windows. If the men were investment bankers, we would still object! Our community will not stand for the government endorsement of illegal construction and unsafe occupancy and it is a disgrace that DHS does not consider such life safety issues when locating rooms for homeless men. These men deserve better treatment!

Anonymous said...

But this building lot doesn't have 25,000 s.f. of allowable space under zoning.

It was built under the R6 zoning, Quality Housing zoning located on a "narrow street". That would allow 9,900 sq feet of residential use. The C2 commercial overlay allows 9,000 more s.f. of built Community Facility space. Together the building can't have more than 18,900 s.f.

Is this why the building didn't get a Cert. of Occupancy? Is the city now rewarding the developer for overbuilding by allowing homeless residency numbers to be based on 25,000 s.f.?

Is the city here saying it is OK to overbuild your zoning if you use the building for these other purposes, like homeless shelters?
Is this how developers will get away with building 15 stories in places like 12th St and PPW, by flipping it to a homeless shelter when they can't get a regulation CofO?

agnes said...

saThank you, Katia, for all you are doing to keep our community informed. (Better than a local paper!)

Katia said...

Well, thank you, Agnes. And thank you to my great readers who share their knowledge and expertise. You guys are truly inspirational.

CG Family since before St. Agnes said...

Attn. Neighbors:

Here's a GREAT building to allow housing for up to 10 families who have lost thier homes to Sandy.

Let the builder (who over built - against the law) try to collect from F.E.M.A. himself.

CG Family since 1843 said...

How about using this building to place 10 HOMELESS Families from Red Hook who have been put out of thier homes by Sandy?