Al’s Article

    By Al D’Angelo
Want to experiment? Let’s do it in the Bronx. If it fails it will only hurt the people living in the poorest, least healthy, and least educated borough in the city. A presentation by Jeanette Merrill, director of communications and intergovernmental affairs NYC health and hospitals/correctional health services wants to do exactly that. The proposal is to construct a housing unit where building 2 now stands at 1900 Seminole Ave. The proposal is for 100 studio apartments, 60% of which would house homeless convicted criminals, the remaining 40% would house low-income individuals. When ask where else has this been done, the answer I received was this was the first. Where are our elected officials and why are they allowing our borough to be used for social experimentation? We have the most homeless shelters and group homes than any other borough in the city of New York, yet we rank fourth in population. Why aren’t they protecting our Borough? Every community has the responsibility to take care of the people in their community. They are our neighbors and if they need assistance, it is our responsibility to make sure their needs are met. I personally visited 3 group homes in our community several years ago and NONE I repeat NONE of the residents there were from the Bronx. Why are their communities turning their backs on them and why do their neighbors, who have fallen on hard times, become our responsibility? Jacobi Medical Center has work hard to service the needs of our community. Their educational and outreach programs have made them a trusted neighbor. This proposal will not enhance Jacobi’s standing in the community. Statistics show the recidivism rate of convicted criminals is 66%, of that 66%, 50% will be reincarcerated. How does this enhance the quality of life in our community? Let’s not be naive everyone wants a kumbaya moment as long as it doesn’t affect them. I wonder how many of those who have made this proposal live in the area? How many of them live in the Bronx? I’m sure the answer to my question is none. They propose something that will negatively affect my community then they will walk away. They’re willing to risk the lives and safety of our children on an experimental system. They should put more energy into a failed penal system that breeds recidivists and give individuals the tools necessary to flourish in society. Instead of fighting the root causes of criminal behavior I guess it is much more lucrative to put a band aid on the problem. We are losing our middle class because we have become the forgotten borough. How about a proposal that would enhance our community? An early childcare center for example which would allow the staff and community residence to have their children in a safe nurturing environment. Couple that with senior housing for the members of our community so they can live independent lives within the confines of a health care facility. These proposals would positively impact our community.
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