2 New Homeless Shelters To Come To Park Slope

2 New Park Slope Shelters

Tomorrow a meeting will be held at John Jay High School to address two new homeless shelters that are proposed to be opened in Park Slope before the end of 2019.

The meeting, which will be held at 237 7th Avenue, between 6:30 PM and 8:30 PM, will reportedly be attended by elected officials, representatives of the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS), and representatives of Women In Need (WIN).

The two shelters will be operated by WIN. According to The Bklyner, one shelter, proposed to be opened in September, will be a 148-unit shelter located at 535 4th Avenue. The other shelter, located at 555 4th Avenue, is proposed to be opened in November 2019. It will house 105 shelter units.

NYC is still seemingly attempting to solve its serious housing crisis by building new homeless shelters rather than turning available properties into affordable housing? I’m still unclear exactly what the city’s plan is here. What city official can accurately articulate the city’s affordable housing plan?

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Actress Susan Kelechi Watson On Brooklyn’s Gentrification

Susan Watson

Actress Susan Kelechi Watson had the following to say about the gentrification of Brooklyn in a recent New York Post interview:

“I don’t understand why there wasn’t the same investment in the community or the same investment in the prosperity of the community when the culture was majority Afro-Caribbean, Afro-American, when it was a majority of black culture. It becomes more opportune to invest when other cultures decide they want to live there. Or other cultures must live there because they are forced out of- let’s say, Manhattan. At the core level, that’s my problem with gentrification.

What I say is that there’s this culture and this vibe and this community in Brooklyn that’s so amazing and wonderful and it has influence on the world. That’s the part of Brooklyn that I love and I begin to miss. All these people who made Brooklyn, Brooklyn. When you’re from Brooklyn, you are the show, aren’t you?”

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My Housing Nightmare After Homelessness: Part 1

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One of the greatest exhales of my life was securing housing after going through homelessness. Unfortunately, however, my relief was short-lived. My expectations and celebration was too quickly shattered when I secured a great apartment in a great neighborhood, but soon found out that my living conditions in said apartment would leave me trapped in an environment that mirrored housing shelter conditions in a very detrimental way.

My new dwelling has been plagued with a sickening, potent drug aroma that rivals the one that was ever-present in the New York City homeless shelters; the same potent drug aroma that caused me to develop smoke-related asthma.

As a newly-created asthma sufferer, thanks to the NYC shelter system, I was especially ecstatic when I secured my new apartment because all through the interview process, it was stressed to me that a no smoking and drug use policy would be strictly enforced by the building’s management. The management company’s admonitions made me believe that I was moving into a “smoke-free environment.” However, instead, I had just signed a lease for an apartment with an environment that, like the NYC homeless shelters, caused: illness, missed days of work due to illness, and the use of an inordinate amount of days to try to get the apartment’s management company to enforce the terms of the lease that barred smoking and drug use on the premises.

It took me approximately a year and a half of phone calls, letter writing, and networking to even make a dent in solving this issue. The problem was so severe that my apartment was constantly inundated with a potent drug aroma like someone was sitting on my couch doing drugs.

I found myself spending the majority of my days documenting what I was experiencing and reaching out for solutions the same way I had to when I was living under the horrifying conditions of the NYC shelter system. I am still trying to make further inroads in dealing with this toxic conundrum. I still have more work to do to ensure that I am living in a healthy, decent environment.

The last few years of my life has been a living, breathing testament to what happens when the basic necessity of shelter is lacking, contaminated, or in limbo.

A lack of decent housing has a domino effect that touches every area of a person’s life, with unexpected nuances that have to be experienced to be fully understood.

My fight for decent housing did not end when my bout with homelessness ended. I am still engaged in that battle. It is an exhausting one. I have experienced battle fatigue, but I have gathered my second wind. I will continue to share my experiences; part catharsis, part helping hand, part empowerment.

Stay strong; New York Strong.

-The Homeless New Yorker

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Brooklyn’s Massive K2 Overdose Reportedly Involves Some Shelter Residents

K2 Overdose Symtoms

News sources are stating that nearly 50 Brooklynites have overdosed on K2 over the past few days.

The overdoses reportedly happened in five different locations. NBC News lists the overdoses as having occurred at the following locations: “The area of Broadway and Myrtle saw 15 overdoses; Fulton Street and Alabama Avenue in East New York had 21; Ralph Avenue and Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, 7; Van Sinderen Avenue in Brownsville, 2; and Atlantic Avenue and Sackman Street, 4.”

The New York Daily News states that yesterday’s “rash of overdose victims came from the Renaissance Shelter at Ralph Ave. and Lincoln Place, witnesses said.” The New York Daily News also states that four people overdosed outside the Atlantic House Men’s Shelter in Brownsville.

**UPDATE: About 10 minutes ago, The Wall Street Journal reported that “K2 Overdose Tally Grows to 56 in Brooklyn.”

**SECOND UPDATE: The New York Times just reported: “The warnings on Tuesday [today] carried particular urgency for the city’s homeless population: Three shelters were among the five places identified as epicenters. The largest number of patients, 21, came from the Fulton House shelter in East New York.”

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Race, Money & Gentrification

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“There’s an obvious irony to the fact that even as race was key to the ‘white flight’ of the 1960s and ‘70s- both via redlining and the suburban covenant that excluded non-whites- it’s arguably just as central to the return of a new generation of white urban immigrants to neighborhoods that, in many cases, their own parents and grandparents abandoned. (‘My parents couldn’t believe I was moving to Brooklyn- they worked so hard to get out of there!’ is a common twenty-first century urban pioneer tale.) Viewed this way, both white flight and white return are two sides of the same coin. Those privileged by money and skin color getting to choose where to live- and who to live with- while those who are not so privileged have to take whatever’s left for them.” – From, “The Brooklyn Wars: The Stories Behind The Remaking Of New York’s Most Celebrated Borough” By: Neil DeMause

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NYC Homeless Shelter Administrator Sexual Harasses Homeless Women

HMLS New Yorker

What happens when a homeless shelter administrator sexually harasses shelter residents? Check out the investigative report below on a Brooklyn homeless shelter where women have been allegedly sexually violated and abused by a “housing specialist.” This has been reportedly going on for YEARS at this particular shelter. Sadly, this is not surprising at all.

In the investigative report below, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) spokesperson is quoted as saying the following regarding the sexual abuse: “We have absolutely zero tolerance for this alleged behavior. We are in close collaboration with authorities, and we are seeking this individual’s termination.” His termination? How about his prosecution, and an investigation into a department that should have dealt with this very serious issue years ago? How about some sort of restitution, and services, for the victims? How about an intense clean-up, and scrubbing, of agencies that allow the city’s shelters to be run like corrupt prisons? SMH!!

[SIDEBAR: I wonder how long he has worked for DHS? Probably, quite some time; meaning years of violating and abusing vulnerable homeless women. Whenever you complain of the behavior of NYC homeless shelter staff/administrators, you are likely to be met with the rebuttal of how long the administrator/employee has worked for DHS. This is used as a protective shield by the person engaging in improprieties, and their higher-ups. As if their years of experience means that they are “in the right.” It only means that many NYC shelter administrators/employees are allowed to engage in all kinds of egregious activities with the backing of the agencies they work for. This makes it even more intimidating, and threatening, for homeless shelter residents to speak up. MR. MAYOR, and other public officials, WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS? WHERE IS YOIR CALL TO ACTION?!]

Kudos to Jay Dow and his team for their continuously stellar work!!!

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267 Rogers Avenue: Brooklyn’s Newest Housing Shelter Battle

267 Rogers Avenue

In Crown Heights’ continuing battle to stop the influx of homeless shelters inundating their neighborhood, a group of residents have successfully received a temporary restraining order against the full opening of a shelter on 267 Rogers Avenue. The courageous opponents of the shelter’s opening are demanding that the new building be completely designated for affordable housing.

The 267 Rogers Avenue shelter reportedly has the capacity to house 132 families. The shelter allegedly moved 10 families into the facility before a judge ordered that there be no further move-ins until future rulings are made.

A Crown Heights block association president, and plaintiff in the case against the 267 Rogers Avenue shelter, is quoted in an article on DNA Info as stating, in reference to the homeless families: “We’re not looking to kick them out. We want them there permanently.”

The opponents to the shelter are not just asking that the City abandon its plan to open the shelter. They are farsightedly seeking permanent affordable housing for their community.

According to an April 5, 2017 DNA Info article, the 267 Rogers Avenue shelter, “will share space with affordable housing tenants who will use 20 percent of the new building’s apartments.” I find this baffling!! I’ve never heard of the City implementing such a plan. Who would pay rent to live in a homeless shelter?

The plaintiffs in the aforementioned lawsuit are hoping that the judge rules in their favor and mandates that the facility be used 100% for low-income/affordable housing.

The next hearing date regarding the shelter is on Monday, June 12, 2017 at 2 PM. Kings County Supreme Court, 360 Adams Street, Room 461.

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