CB 11 Homeless Shelter Information Meeting

Joint Community Board 11 Committee Meeting With DHS

Wednesday night the Land Use and Health and Social Services Committees of Community Board 11 met with a representative of the Department of Homeless Services to discuss the homeless situation of the CB 11 area. Ms. Nichole Jordan of DHS informed those in attendance that CB 11 has a responsibility for 809 homeless people who last resided in CB 11.

CB 11 Land Use Chair Kennith Gelnick, CB 11 Health and Social Services Committee Chair Joseph Bacote, and Ms. Nicole Jotdan of DHS.

Currently there are no shelters in CB 11, only a few scatter sites houses in the Van Nest area, as described by CB 11 member Bernadette Ferrera. Ms. Jordan of DHS denied that. Ms. Jordan went on to talk about the ‘Turning the Tide on Homelessness’ program by Mayor de Blasio. 90 shelters will be built in the five boroughs to house the 60,000 total homeless NYC population. She added that by 2021 the current 447 buildings used as cluster sites will be closed by the city, and by 2023 hotels will be phased out.

When the subject of where shelter sites would be in CB 11 Ms. Jordan said that DHS has a list of providers who will find sites, and then go through the request for proposal, before a shelter is to open. Councilman Mark Gjonaj said that the Community Board has to be very careful, in bringing up a fight of a homeless shelter. He used the Billionaires Row in Manhattan where even the best lawyers were unable to stop a shelter there. He cited two other similar examples where communities opposed shelters and lost. Gjonaj added if the zoning permits for a shelter to be built it would be ‘As of Right’ where the CB would be told the shelter location with minimal input from the board. He also said that the ‘Housing Emergency Act’ allows DHS to open shelters without telling the affected CB.

Ms. Jordan of DHS listens to a question from Mr. Bacote.

When asked where shelters could be built in proximity to churches, schools, and community centers, Ms. Jordan said that only the zoning would determine that. When asked about the issue of ‘Fair Share’ since the Bronx has thirty-seven percent of the homeless population, but only about twenty-two percent of the cities population, Councilman Gjonaj answered a silent Ms. Jordan that he has requested similar information from DHS, but that’s stopped in 2017. Ms. Jordan would not also answer if registered sex offenders would be placed in any shelter built in CB 11. There are three levels of sex offenders with the third being the highest, and they are not permitted near children. However level one and two sex offenders could wind up in a homeless shelter, as was said in another meeting with DHS on that subject.

People left the meeting apprehension, and worried when and where the DHS homeless shelters would wind up in CB 11.

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