Residents Petition Bronx and NYC Elected Officials: Move Pyramid Safe Haven

In April, a group calling itself  “The Residents and Supporters of Melrose Commons” started an online petition at calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio and local Bronx elected officials, including freshman Assemblyman Michael Blake, to close the Pyramid Safe Haven men’s shelter at 470 East 161st Street at Washington Avenue. The shelter which is run by BronxWorks opened in January 2015. To date, the petition has a little over 100 signatures and the shelter remains in operation.
Update: Sources now say that the Pyramid men’s shelter will stay open through June 30th. It’s status after that date is unknown.
The Department of Homeless Services says that the facility opened in this past winter as part of a seven-day notification process for emergency sitting, when frigid temperatures made it unsafe for anyone to be outside for an extended period. The agency notified elected officials and local community board members about the facility on January 15.

Back in January, DHS claimed that the building only served as temporary housing, which was vital for men seeking shelter during the winter. Community residents now want to have the “temporary” shelter close now that warmer temperatures are here.

The group says, “It is unfair and unjust to push the majority of shelters into certain neighborhoods. It is detrimental to the neighborhood and the people who live in that shelter. The Bronx houses the majority of shelters in NYC and the 79th district houses over a quarter of them. This community if fighting back. PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION to move Pyramid Safe Haven from this building which could better serve the children of this community as something else.”

Pyramid Safe Haven, a former YMCA center, most recently served as the Pyramid Reception Center, a state office of juvenile justice facility. The shelter sits amidst the newly redeveloped Melrose Commons area in the 79th district. The Boricua College campus sits across the street from  the men’s shelter.

Community Board 3 district manager John Dudley told that the homeless shelter “is just not suitable in the context of larger development activities that are coming to that area.”

The group asserts that Pyramid “could be better used as a community space for this neighborhood, which, it is lacking as it has a pool, gymnasium, track, classrooms, cafeteria and other community spaces which are currently not being utilized by the Pyramid Safe Haven Program.  Only a small section of the building is being used. It is a misuse of space.  There are other facilities in other districts that would be more appropriate for this particular shelter’s program. There is an imbalance in the city on how shelters are being dispersed and what resources are available to the communities affected.”

The group ends its appeal with the demand that the shelter be moved to another location, if not, another district, because the community has more than it’s fair share of such facilities.
The petition may be found here:
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