On Thursday last week, Community Board 6's office had received a letter from the organization announcing its plan. "The news took us by surprise," Community Board 6 Chairman Daniel Kumer declared last night at the board's monthly meeting. "At this moment, we don't have any more information." He added: "The plan does not require input from CB6, nor from our elected officials. There is no public review. However, we will continue to broadcast about this matter on CB6's website."
In addition, a public informational meeting has been scheduled by CB6 for October 24th at 6:30 PM. The meeting place will be announced as soon as confirmed. Represenatives from both Housing Solutions USA/Aguila Inc. and the Department of Homeless Services have been invited.
"Hopefully, we can replace fear with facts," Daniel Kumer stated.
Meanwhile, Councilmember Brad Lander has issued his own statement on the proposed shelter.
Safe and decent housing is essential for all of us, and I am glad that New York recognizes a “right to shelter.” I have worked throughout my career to create and preserve affordable housing and to combat homelessness. As a City Councilmember, I hear every week from constituents who are on the brink of losing their apartments and becoming homeless.
The Bloomberg Administration’s homeless policy – eliminating long-standing pathways to affordable housing – has been an abysmal failure. As a result, homelessness is at an-time high, with over 46,000 New Yorkers, tragically including over 19,000 children, sleeping in shelters each night. As I have done dozens of times in recent years, I implore Mayor Bloomberg to restore pathways to permanent housing in NYCHA, Section 8, and other subsidized housing for homeless families. We know the way to reduce homelessness, and it is a scandal that he keeps choosing not to do it.
With homelessness rising due to their policy failure, the Bloomberg Administration has resorted to opening more and more shelters. While no one is excited about a shelter in their community, we all have to do our part. Every neighborhood in New York City, including Carroll Gardens, has a role to play in ensuring that all New Yorkers have somewhere safe to sleep at night.
But homeless shelters need to be sited in locations that make sense. I am very concerned about the proposal from the NYC Department of Homeless Services and Housing Solutions USA for a 170-bed single homeless men’s shelter at 165 West 9th Street, a building that was constructed to be a 10-unit condo building, on a block otherwise made up of three story homes. I do not understand how the proposed shelter could fit responsibly into the building, or how the dramatically increased population would fit into the block and surrounding area.
A local resident probably reflected the community's sentiment best when stating: "We demand community input before they move 170 people into a sub standard structure built as 10 units... And I implore our Electeds to act as leaders and work with us to find solutions immediately."