In a letter to NYC Department Of Homeless Services Commissioner Diamond, Councilmember Brad Lander, Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Senator Daniel Squadron, and Assemblywoman Joan Millman cite 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.
They also question the fact that the owner of the building Charles Wertman, is also a board member of Housing Solutions USA, the non-profit proposing the shelter.
Please find the entire letter below.
October 16, 2012
Mr. Seth Diamond
33 Beaver Street, 17th Floor
New York, NY 10004
Dear Commissioner Diamond:
We are writing in response to the community notification received by Brooklyn Community Board 6 on Friday October 5, 2012, in which Housing Solutions USA – in partnership with the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) – announced their intention to open a 170-bed homeless shelter at 165 West 9th Street, between Court Street and Hamilton Avenue, in Carroll Gardens. We have numerous concerns about the proposal.
With homelessness at all-time high, every neighborhood – including Carroll Gardens – has a role to play in making sure that all New Yorkers have a safe place to sleep at night. Safe and decent housing is essential for all of us, and we recognize that we all have to do our fair share. We recognize that it is our collective responsibility – as both a city and a community – to support the mission of the NYC Department of Homeless Services and to provide shelter for homeless New Yorkers. If DHS will work with us and our community in a collaborative fashion to develop an appropriate proposal, we are committed to supporting a shelter in Carroll Gardens.
However, that must not mean using the City’s emergency contracting provisions to rush an ill-conceived project through, with only a half-page, 30-day notice to the community, squeezing 170 people into a 10-unit building, with no plans provided for social services or security, and disregard for City rules and processes, including an apparent conflict of interest. In particular:
We are aware that Housing Solutions USA has agreed to make a presentation at the Brooklyn Community Board 6 Human Services Committee meeting on Thursday October 24. DHS must also send a representative to attend this meeting.
What do you think of the letter?