Outrage erupts over homeless shelter

Community leaders say they were kept in the dark over plan to utilize a newly built apartment house on Broadway

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Just a year after effectively losing a battle to get homeless families out of a Broadway hotel, elected officials and community leaders were caught by surprise yet again when word got out that a recently constructed apartment building at 5731 Broadway would become a shelter for more than 80 homeless families.

Now elected officials are crying foul, and one Community Board 8 committee has added discussion of the proposed shelter to its July 27 agenda.

“I am outraged at the city’s plan to convert a brand-new apartment building in Kingsbridge into a homeless shelter,” Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said in a statement of the building, located between West 234th and 236th streets. “The community was led to believe that 5731 Broadway was to contain market-rate housing. Now — without the slightest consultation with the community board, members of the community, or my office — we find out that we were the victims of a classic bait and switch.”

This isn’t the first time Dinowitz said he felt deceived about a Broadway project. Just two years ago, the Van Cortlandt Motel just a few blocks away became a shelter for the homeless. While they were able to remove homeless men from the shelter, struggling families are still housed there today.

“I am frustrated and angry that the Department of Homeless Services is obsessed with dumping another shelter on the Broadway corridor,” Councilman Andrew Cohen said in a statement.

“We as a community have been trying to improve the business climate on the southern end of Broadway and strengthen the residential portion of the northern end. DHS seems committed to destroying that effort.”

Simply expanding shelters is not the approach the city should take with the homeless, Cohen said. Instead, New York must come up with “concrete measures to keep people in their homes before they become homeless.”

The shelter has become the first test of new CB8 chair Rosemary Ginty, who told The Riverdale Press that she doesn’t yet have enough information on the overall project. The announcement she received was “sparse on the facts” when it came to what the Kingsbridge apartment would be.

CB8 will try and gather those missing details July 27 after the land use committee amended its agenda to include a discussion of 5731 Broadway.

“We agreed that we needed to have a public hearing in the community so that the city agency would come and explain the project to the community,” Ginty said.

The city’s homeless services department defended its decision.

“Homeless New Yorkers come from every community across the five boroughs, so we need every community to come together to address homelessness,” department spokesman Isaac McGinn said in an email. That means implementing what he called a “borough-based approach,” ending cluster sites and commercial hotel facilities — like the one at Van Cortlandt Motel — and using facilities like the Broadway apartment building instead.

The new building, McGinn added, would offer temporary housing to more than 80 families who already live in the Bronx, It would provide a shelter closer to their original communities, helping those families get back on their feet.

The Manhattan-based nonprofit Praxis Housing Initiatives will provide support services like permanent housing placement assistance, after-school programming for children, and mental health services. The organization also will provide on-site security 24 hours a day, including a security officer at each building entrance, a department official said, with some help from the New York Police Department.

Homeless services department officials said they provided local officials 30 days notice about the shelter plans. That notification took place July 14 , and the first families aren’t expected to move in until mid-August.

Additionally, the department said it would work with and the neighborhood groups and leaders to “ensure this facility is integrated seamlessly into the community, and our clients receive a warm welcome.”

More than 350 people are currently in need of temporary housing within the confines of Community Board 8, according to data provided by the homeless services department. Right now, a little more than 80 in the community have found shelter.

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CelticWoman

I don't live in the area and this outrages me. When these shelters are slapped into middle class neighborhoods, it's the beginning of the end.

Before anyone goes there - I don't care what's in other areas. I care about what's in the Bronx and how the Bronx continues to get crapped on.

Stagg, which is the builder, just opened a luxury building on Pelham Parkway near where I live. I even emailed them and asked them if they would be accepting Section 8. I was told no. So far, I haven't heard any problems or concerns. However, now that this has happened, I'm going to have some reservations.

There is a severe homeless problem in this city and it's not being addressed properly. I know someone who works for ACS and has a client - couple (not married) w/a child who lost their apt. bc they can't afford the $1,400 rent for a studio. They both work - in fact, he works 2 jobs. But since they make minimum wage, it's not enough to afford rent and a kid. Of course it's not - no one would think of BUDGETING and PLANNING children. Instead too many are irresponsible baby breeders - just like the ones that will move into this shelter and ruin yet another perfectly fine middle class area.

Residents must band together and protest like they did in Maspeth. And in November, this POS mayor must be voted out of office. He does not have the capacity to deal with the situations at hand, namely this little homeless problem.

Friday, July 21
KateBB

These are families, homeless families -- homeless children -- and a compassionate society finds a way to shelter them. A location five blocks north of the Marble Hill Houses does not seem like an inappropriate location to me. But according to reports, our community was double-crossed, promised a building that would rent at market rates, not a shelter, and kept in the dark about changing plans. That's what unconscionable.

Friday, July 21
Thomas Maguire

5731 Broadway site needed for 50th Precinct parking lot.

Eliminating the free for all of diagonal parking in this wildly overdeveloped area is a matter of public safety. The precinct itself is inaccessible to the public because no spots are designated for citizen business. A far better idea would be to create a 3 story parking lot with full curb cuts for the use of the Police Department for personal cars while on duty and department vehicles, thereby returning the area surrounding the station house to non police business. This would also reduce congestion in an area unduly "Squeezed" in an attempt to retrain citizens to leave their cars at home. Instead, they have created a pressure cooker filled with brains....and you are about to step in front of a car driven by one!!! Leaving common sense traffic planning behind in the pursuit of the Utopian Bicycle People is misguided and foolish. Stop allowing development of any kind where you already have an untenable squeeze; in this case from both over development and ignorant traffic planning.

This being said, we do have the responsibility to care for our neighbors who become homeless. They have the right to stay in the neighborhood they called home while getting back on their feet, which would be twice as hard without their friends nearby.

Sincerely,

Friday, July 21
LuciaPilson

About a year and half ago, the City under the misdirection of Mayor DeBlasio decided to convert a small hotel in Maspeth Queens into a homeless shelter. The area residents, elected officials and community board rose up, protesting consistently and loudly. End result, no homeless shelter. We, the residents of this neighborhood, our hard-working elected officials and Community Board 8 have got to take a page out of the Maspeth Queens playbook. WE have got to stop rolling over, offering only mild opposition when the City lies to us over and over again. We have got to mobilize as many people as possible to make the loudest noise possible. This isn’t bait and switch this is out-right lies. Community Board 8 has been conned by the City numerous times. It is time that we stop feeling guilty every time the City throws the words “homeless families” in our direction. There are many area residents, working people, who were hoping to have the chance to move into a new affordable apartment within their own neighborhood. Apparently, the City has different ideas. They say they need this building so that they keep homeless Bronx families near their neighborhoods. Why should we believe them, they have lied to us over and over. I say we have to send a loud, raucous message to the City and the liars at the Department for Homeless Services. Community Board 8 has got to mobilize as many of us as possible and in conjunction with our elected officials we need to cause as much noise as possible to say enough is enough. During an election season, it is the last thing lying DeBlasio wants. This has got to STOP now.

Friday, July 21
D. Stillman

Although I have returned to Brooklyn where I came from, I lived in Riverdale for one year and taught at Kennedy High School for 15 years. I know the area and the zeitgeist, too. In my community in Brooklyn, there was outrage when a formerly private dormitory for students was taken over by the city and a company running homeless shelters. I believe people were envisioning a hundred psychotic, homeless men roaming the neighborhood. The shelter is for families, and the issues since it opened have been minimal.

Many of us in Kensington have begun to volunteer, I as a retired attorney available for conversations about legal problems. There is a retired horticulturist and many others. The neighborhood sees mostly mothers with children. There is a terrific staff at Camba Kensington. They work tirelessly to help the residents through trauma, find new apartments, obtain benefits, and find jobs. Kids are placed in day care and good schools and are beloved by the staff.

It sounds like you have been insulted by the City representatives, but do not let that get in the way of embracing the shelter as we have in Brooklyn. I believe that every community should have shelters, programs for the mentally ill, and immigrants. It is humbling to interact with these populations and is good for the soul. I suggest that your reps call Camba for a tour. This will allay your fears.

Dianne Stillman in Kensington, Brooklyn

Friday, July 21
JenScarlott

I'm pleased to learn that 80 homeless families will have a roof over their heads at the new building at 5731 Broadway. The de Blasio administration has a long way to go in developing effective and humane policies and programs to address the needs of the homeless, but I wholeheartedly support the CB8 district doing its part to house families that are in need. Shame on Assemblyperson Jeffrey Dinowitz and Councilmember Andrew Cohen for their "outrage" and for prioritizing an "improved business climate" over the needs of the homeless.

Friday, July 21
MR

While overall I don't have a huge issue with this being a shelter, I do think there is an argument to be made about the potential effects given it's location. Given the housing crisis for all New Yorkers, we simply need to build more housing to increase supply and drive down rents. In my opinion the Broadway corridor offers a lot of potential for such development given the number of 1 story commercial lots, but will the location of this shelter hamper interest in building along Broadway? With regard to commercail development, this also holds true, and realistically that brings jobs and opportunities. In an ideal world we can hope developers won't care and would still invest in our community if they feel money could be made but undoubtedly the location of the shelter will be an issue.

Saturday, July 22
Democrap 4 life

Now it makes sense why a local plumbing contractor pulled his permits and walked away from Mark Stagg as he lives in this area

Congratulations to the local plumber who put his neighborhood above the almighty dollar

By the way a local local politician was given a heads up but decided to ignore what Stagg did in several of his buildings in the Bronx

Watch out when you hear "luxury" building :-(

Saturday, July 22
The Short End of the Stagg Stick

Mark Stagg, who lives in Purchase (how nice), gets millions of dollars a year from the city tax payer to pay for this Trojan horse public housing project/homeless shelter and IN RETURN the community tax payer gets the homeless, dangerous and emotionally disturbed people from the South Bronx and all the crime and social issues they will bring as evident by the McDonalds manager murder, Van Cortlandt Motel baby death, and the North Riverdale bank robberies committed by the recent subsidized residents of that section of the North Broadway corridor. Stagg gets our money and IN RETURN we get more strained police resources, more overcrowded schools and classrooms, more crowded roads, buses & subways, less parking, less quality of life, and NO HUDSON RIVER GREENWAY!

Saturday, July 22
Mike Garcia

That’s what we get for electing Mayor Bill de Blasio. Rest assured, the Mayor is not building any homeless shelters in his beloved Park Slope neighborhood. de Blasio doesn’t want to affect the $10,000+ a month he gets for his Park Slope rentals while we put up the bill for him to stay at Gracie Mansion for free.

http://ny.curbed.com/2017/3/20/14982418/bill-de-blasio-park-slop-apartment-for-rent

And come election time, de Blasio and the other politicians will change this topic and distract the very few community voters by discussing how much they hate Donald Trump. Suckers.

Saturday, July 22
Shawn Carter

Saying “80 families” is sugar coating it for an already gullible community board. Let’s do the math people. If you add Mom plus 2 to 3 kids plus a significant other and multiply that by 80 it’s at least 320 homeless people in one building. That number can easily reach up to 500 homeless people and the overwhelming majority will not be from within the friendly confines of Community Board 8.

But they will not say 500 homeless people and they will not say from where they will be coming from because that will alarm people even more. They give the the homeless people a softer label and call them families (ahh, how cute) and consolidate the 500 number into 80.

See? Not so bad. Now, EAT IT CB8!

Saturday, July 22
Jen Scarlott

I deplore the racism in some of these comments, eg. "The Short End of the Stagg Stick," who describes South Bronx neighbors as: "... the homeless, dangerous and emotionally disturbed people from the South Bronx and all the crime and social issues they will bring..."

Shawn Carter, who writes of "... the friendly confines of Community Board 8..." and deplores the Department for Homeless Services because, "...

they will not say 500 homeless people and they will not say from where they will be coming from because that will alarm people even more."

"CelticWoman" writes: "When these shelters are slapped into middle class neighborhoods, it's the beginning of the end."

White supremacy, red-lining, racism, ingrained, persistent, even violent forms of racism and social and class hatred are alive and well in the United States, in Riverdale, in CB8. Hatred and intolerance of the homeless, of immigrants, of the undocumented are rampant, and fed from the top -- from the Oval Office. We live in ugly times, times founded upon the nation's deplorable origins of genocide of Native American peoples and 400 years of slavery. I categorically disown the racist views expressed here, and will continue with active struggles for justice and solidarity. When will there be justice? When will there be reparations? When will humans be able to call themselves "civilized"?

Saturday, July 22
Mike Garcia

And there it is. Just as I predicted.: The pivot to distract and divide and conquer the community.

If most of the community is against a MASSIVE homeless shelter that was built next to our homes, children’s schools and businesses under false pretense, just piously label the community as bigoted racist Trump supporters. It doesn’t matter if race hasn’t been mentioned once and residents are solely against what an influx of 300 to 500 homeless people will have on the quality of life of the community.

But there you have it folks. You’re either for the homeless shelter or you’re with Trump. Bravo young lady. You have been trained well.

Saturday, July 22
Jen Scarlott

@Mike Garcia, please describe, with some specificity, what you believe the effects will be of "an influx of 300 to 500 homeless people on the quality of life of the community."

Incidentally, I did not say that people must fall into one of two camps: "in favor of the shelter or supportive of Trump." Those are your words, not mine. I said that some of the comments here are, in my view, racist and/or bordering very close to that line. I referred to Donald Trump. I did not, however, say that all those who do not support the shelter must be Trump supporters.

Racism reveals itself in many ways, sometimes blatantly, sometimes through dog whistles. It reveals itself in some of the comments in this thread. In my experience of reading The Riverdale Press online for many years, racist views held by some in the local area are unflinchingly revealed strikingly often.

As to "Bravo young lady"... maybe consider leaving gender and age references and assumptions out of the discussion.

Sunday, July 23
Former Marine W/ Common Sense

I’m going to give the facts from something called the FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT. Yes, you actually have to do some work to get the facts which everyone in the military, including myself as a former marine, uses.…

NYC Department of Homeless Services has determined that 98% of all homeless persons have PURPOSELY become homeless due to their actions (i.e. drugs, promiscuous sex that leads to many children w/ no father, flunking out of school, not looking for a job, purposely moving to NYC to ‘mooch’ off the taxpayer, drugs, etc.).

Now, as to what @Jen Scarlott wrote - “White supremacy, red-lining, racism, ingrained, persistent, even violent forms of racism and social and class hatred are alive and well in the United States, in Riverdale, in CB8.”

Again, straight from the FOIA - the black community commits 90% of all crime in NYC. 50% of all drug-related crimes in NYC are committed by the black community. People of Latin, Spanish descent commit 48% of all drug-related crimes in NYC. 85% of all crimes in the USA are committed by the black community (they are only 12.5% of the pop.). 94% of all black homicide victims in the USA were killed by another black person.…. But here you are worried about supposed ‘racism and white supremacy’.

Due to the information I just provided, I am ABSOLUTELY against this homeless shelter! I encourage every reader to use the FOIA instead of taking the media seriously. I mean really, how lazy and misinformed can someone be?

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT for NYC:

https://a860-openrecords.nyc.gov/

Sunday, July 23
Richard

There is something wrong with a system that lets anyone walk in off the street and claims homelessness and be given the "right"to shelter at the taxpayers expense. It does not matter if that persons roots are in another state the bleeding hearts of New York will shelter you anyway at astronomical rents. The owners of a brand new building can put homeless families in it because it obviously pays more than traditional housing. There is a perverse system. The system should work to help those who help themselves. Those who work at marginal jobs should be given the help they need to find long term housing in areas where they can afford the rent. Housing subsidies are not designed to provide luxury housing for those who have hit the subsidy lottery. Those carpetbaggers who arrive to game the New York generous allowances should be given a one way ticket back to the state they previously lived in. I wish I could live in Chappaqua with the millionaires but I sure do not expect the taxpayers to foot my bill.

Monday, July 24
CelticWoman

@Jen Scarlott - I love when whitey points out racism in comments.

But then don't live with what they're preaching. The liberal lunacy by too many whites who love to point out racism while living in their doorman buildings and gated communities and while sending their snowflakes to the many uppity private schools in Riverdale is daunting.

Perhaps this building would be better if it were located on Riverdale Avenue. I'm sure you would agree.

Monday, July 24
CelticWoman

@Mike Garcia don't let people like hypocrites Jen Scarlott sway your thinking. White hypocrites like her a dime a dozen - they preach but never practice what they're preaching. They're quick to call everyone else a racist yet it's not THEM living next door to this hot mess. When people disagree with projects like this, they love to call those folks racist yet they don't know a damn thing about them.

My husband is Hispanic and when I told him about this he was disgusted. He knows what these buildings bring in. I grew up in Inwood and he's from the Heights. We both know what we're talking about as we have years of experience living in certain areas, something that Ms. Scarlott will never have.

Monday, July 24
CelticWoman

Dianne Stillman - you fail to understand that this is the Bronx and for the last 40 - 50 years we have been crapped and continually to be crapped on. The last thing the Bronx needs is more homeless, more low income, more irresponsible twits. We have more than our share of it. Shelters aren't the answer.

And no, every community should not have a shelter in it! What we need are for people to be more responsible instead of having children they can't afford to raise. This alone is a major reason why we have a homeless problem in NYC, something this shelter will be surprising. Enough w/the pity party for single mothers and their meal tickets. I am sick and tired of supporting these irresponsible dopes and their choices.

Don't breed em if you can't feed em!

Monday, July 24
CelticWoman

@Thomas Maguire - no, we do not have a responsibility towards anyone but ourselves and our family. That's it! You don't know where these families are coming from and to assume that they are from the Kingsbridge/Marble Hill/Riverdale area is a bit of a stretch.

The parents of the 2 little girls who died last Dec. in Hunts Point were from Maine. They came to NYC w/their heroin problems, got free housing and everything else that goes along with it. They are not our damn responsibility! They should have been sent back to Maine and let Maine deal w/them. NYC has enough issues as it is - we don't need to import them.

Monday, July 24
CelticWoman

@Richard - this morning on the news there was the story about de Blasio riding the F train this weekend. When he exited the station he was approached by someone mentioning how there is a need for affordable housing as he and his wife have been living in a shelter for 4 years.

I said out loud - in 4 years two adults couldn't secure housing? Or is there a problem much deeper than the rent being too damn high?

Monday, July 24
Jennifer Scarlott

@Former Marine w/ Common Sense -- you claim to have used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain your statistical information. You seem to imply that FOIA is a source in itself, rather than a process by which one can request government information. You do not cite actual sources for your supposed statistics, nor do you even put them in quotes. This is because they are bogus. In addition, to the extent that you might have gone to a source like the NYPD for statistics, the NYPD has been proven to use illegitimate numbers based on broken windows policing and stop-and-frisk practices in its efforts to disprove that its policing is racist. One can be certain that the statement you claim was made by the NYC Dept of Homeless Services is fictional. If it is not, prove it, and not simply by hiding behind your claim that you have found information through FOIA.

I encourage anyone concerned about these issues to read Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness." I encourage people to read "The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America," by Richard Rothstein. If you'd like to begin reading something more brief, see Jeff Olivet's (Center for Social Innovation) 2016 articles discussing the intersection between homelessness and racism: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-olivet/homelessness-racism-and-s_b_8312898.html and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-olivet/homelessness-is-a-symptom_b_8409582.html. After arming yourself with sound facts about the economic, social, and racial society and systems in which we live, please, revisit your own biases and your fearful and fearsome reactions to housing the homeless at 5731 Broadway.

Consider engaging constructively with local government in long-term efforts to address the deep-seated, underlying causes of homelessness -- and not by creating "affordable" housing that is far outside the price range of working people and the poor, and that destroys vital open space like community gardens. Consider engaging in the deep societal work that is urgently needed to diminish and perhaps some day nearly eliminate the racism that corrodes the lives of people of color, and from which all white people benefit, whether they intend to or not, whether they are aware that they do or not. Please reject the lack of vision of politicians like Mr. Cohen and Mr. Dinowitz, who apparently believe that burdening Broadway with ever more traffic streaming to an ever growing number of generic businesses is synonymous with creating true community... politicians who value "an improved business climate" over the work that we are tasked to undertake to assist homeless families in the immediate term, and to solve the underlying causes of homelessness over the longer term.

Monday, July 24
Bx Developer

The local plumbing contractor who did withdraw all his permits when he realized what Stagg was going to do was a red flag that the local officials were all made aware of.

Now we can fully understand Engrls "F" rating and why the moron is called "Dingbat"

The local officials were made aware how Mark's word means nothing

A red light went up when Chris Miele (not even Mark would dare show up) was sent to assure the local residents how these were middle class houses

Liberal democratic are now seeing what voting along party lines has brought to this area and how we have the best officials money can buy.

Anyone remember what how "Vanny" become a garbage dump under the Dinkins administration? Think how much closer these people are to the park so it makes it a lot easier for them to destroy everything the Rudy and Bloomberg accomplished in quality of life

It should be interesting seeing how these imported predators start their rampage when their attend 81 and 141 attacking the children in these schools which are over crowed as it is

Way to go democratic's

Monday, July 24
John Nimby

Let the homeless into Kingsbrudge and it won't be long before they are living in the Bell Tower and panhandling during services at one of Riverdale's many fine houses of religious worship. THese homeless kids should get paper routes and mow lawns, problem solved.

| Monday, July 24
Jennifer Scarlott

To the extent that "Riverdale's many fine houses of religious worship" contain racists... people who articulate views like yours, @John Nimby, and yours, @Bx Developer, they are tragically and egregiously far from "fine."

Monday, July 24
Ignacio de la Cruz

Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and most of the City Council now allow people to carry marijuana, hop subway turnstiles, drink in public, relieve themselves on the streets, and stay in our public parks well after it closes without care or fear of being arrested.

While Trump is busy “Making America Great Again”, Mayor de Blasio, Melissa Mark-Viverito, and most of the City Council are Making NYC Grimy Again.

And they can’t wait to release half of Rikers. Hey, perhaps Mark Stagg can build the Rikers residents a homeless shelter on the empty lot that almost became a hospital on Riverdale Avenue & 238th Street.

Tuesday, July 25
GBD10463

Hate to interrupt the hate fest for a minute, but there's a more important matter at hand.

How did this happen under local officials' supposedly informed noses? This is a very important question, since more of these kinds of developments may be planned. "Deceived" and "outraged," etc., are fine statements. But how can a community and its official respond when a 30-day notice appears all that is required?

Some pool of information exists somewhere, while a project moves from design to building to completion. Who knows the details, and how is this information to be accessed? If the specifics on these projects are not forthcoming, then "open government" is a farce.

Whether a place for the homeless is needed isn’t the only question. This isn’t the right place – in a revitalized commercial corridor that is seeking to attract more customers and foot traffic between the new malls at 230th and 238th Streets. Kingsbridge has been in a fragile state for some time. While new stores can’t guarantee a neighborhood revitalization, they can help. This misplaced and deceptive project will not help.

Tuesday, July 25
Jimmy McMillan

A homeless shelter in my neighborhood is terrific news! This will keep my rent down as less upwardly mobile middle class young families will ever want to move here thus lowering real estate and rental values. I say build more of them so the local real estate market tanks so much my rent goes down. Thank you Bill de Blasio!

Tuesday, July 25
Bx Developer

As a builder I would be more then happy to build a methadone treatment building and a shelter for drug addicts who want to make a better life for themselves BUT I will build it right next door to Jennifer Scarlott

As a matter of fact I will donate $100,000 for the fund and hope to get matching funding from our mayor and all the liberal democratic's in this area

I am sure senator Engel would love to spear head getting the permits though the department of buildings and give a more lax building code for approval

Van Cortlandt park has more then enough room to build a treatment center by 250 -260 street so these poor misunderstood people can take the subway to the new building

PS 81 and 141 can certainly expand to allow more undocumented children to attend classes as we now have a slew of them there who actually live in Yonkers.

As a liberal it is only right to "share the wealth" even for those who never bothered to work a day in their life .

Mark Stagg even has a crew of men to maintain the structures as these inmates destroy the very apartments the city pays for them to stay in .

It is a win ,win as we developers build a building place these savages inside and in a few months the mongrels cause water damage by allowing bathtubs and sinks to over flow then contact lawyers screaming how neglectful the building owner is

So the building owners now hire a clean up crew and get t back charge the city for damages and get a great tax credit to make it livable again

We have to place bars on the windows so they cant throw garbage on the streets below where someone may get hurt and smelling urine in the elevators and in the hallways people can get used to as it is a fact of life.

Want to get a free education MS Jennifer Scarlott go to Marble housing after dark by yourself and walk into several buildings

Tuesday, July 25
Rebecca Lish

Jen Scarlott's equanimity in the face of this tidal wave of ugly commentary is impressive. I am deeply saddened to read the hateful comments here. These are not the neighbors I know. Although I can sympathize with the Councilman and Assemblyman's frustration that the 30 day notification period leaves them with a short timeline to manage the angry mob spewing bile, I believe that they have an opportunity to model the generosity of spirit toward families in need that characterizes so many in our community. I wish them strength in that effort.

Tuesday, July 25
GodwinTerrace

To my great surprise, CelticWoman, in spite of herself, gets to the heart of the matter. She said:

"There is a severe homeless problem in this city and it's not being addressed properly. I know someone who works for ACS and has a client - couple (not married) w/a child who lost their apt. bc they can't afford the $1,400 rent for a studio. They both work - in fact, he works 2 jobs. But since they make minimum wage, it's not enough to afford rent and a kid."

Who in their right mind would decide the best solution for this family is not to raise the minimum wage, not to provide a child allowance, not to give them a few hundred dollars a month to stay in their apartment, but instead to evict them (and probably allow their landlord to raise the rent on what was likely a rent-stabilized apartment) and use taxpayer money to pay another developer MORE than 1,400 dollars/month to house them?

And yet, that's exactly what we have done. The only winners in the current system are the landlords and the developers. The affordable housing crisis and the homelessness crisis are one and the same. We have a dire need for shelters of this type because the city - and the state senators who control much of the city's housing policy - have failed to protect the system of rent stabilization that protects 47% of apartments in the city, and failed to preserve and fund the programs that can keep at-risk families in their homes. The sooner the city and state act to reverse their policies of gradually weakening rent laws, and the sooner they move to refund programs that keep struggling families in their homes, the fewer shelters we will need.

I support this shelter as the least bad option in the current circumstances but it is a monument to our failure as a society. We must fight for a world in which it wouldn't be necessary.

Tuesday, July 25
Jennifer Scarlott

I share Rebecca Lish's sorrow and anger over the hate of our neighbors, and her thoughtful call for generosity of spirit. @Bx Developer, I have friends throughout Marble Hill and Kingsbridge, including in the Marble Hill Houses. They are among the most superb human beings I have ever known. They work tirelessly for justice in the community.

We need permanent, affordable housing for all. Truly affordable housing. Homeless shelters are a tragic, stop-gap solution. The homeless crisis is a manifestation of unaddressed poverty, income inequality, and endemic racism. The City is flailing in its response, and failing communities, failing the homeless.

The increasing brutality of some of these comments is despicable. I believe that as a "community" -- in fact, I don't believe we have the right to call ourselves that -- we must bring the ugly views being expounded here, (primarily by people without the courage to own them by revealing their identities), into the light so that they can be examined and pondered and rejected. To local leaders of all kinds -- politicians, faith leaders, educators, the media: please... address the racism in our midst. Address the racism arising in the discussion of the Broadway shelter. I hope that each one of us will join our leaders in the discussions and communal soul-searching and work that is desperately needed to right the wrongs articulated here. Violence is being expressed that is as deeply damaging to our neighborhoods as the damage that a physical mob would cause. If we do not address it and stand up to it, we are all implicated.

Tuesday, July 25
Billy from Buffalo

My sister lives in Riverdale and I'm visiting her this week. She sent me to this website b/c she thought it would be amusing for me to read at 2am and comment on.

I am a Sergeant First Class in the NY National Guard and lucky enough to live in Buffalo. Everyone in the NY NG receives the official statics on crime in NY. There are HUGE pockets of crime near homeless shelters. This is official military data. There have been times when I was stationed in Grand Central and I was called to a family homeless shelter in Chelsea b/c the occupants (including the children) were terrorizing the neighborhood.

I'm so thankful I don't live in a neighborhood with certain commentators on this forum. Y'all remind me of the Branch Davidians and Jim Jones' Peoples Temple. Good luck Riverdalians! Your neighborhood had a great run, but now you're f**ked.

Wednesday, July 26
CelticWoman

@GodwinTerrace - I, and the rest of society, don't tell people to take minimum wage jobs and on top of that have children which they can't afford. These are the choices these folks make every single day and they have the audacity to whine and cry about it. This isn't the 1900's when people didn't know any better. Today there is a plethora of choices - I'm just sick and tired of supporting too many of those choices.

Increase the minimum wage to what in NYC? $20 an hour is the ONLY way these folks will survive. That also means no benefits of any sort - no free daycare, no food stamps, no housing assistance. $20 an hour on a 40 hour week is $800/week or $3200/month. That also means these jobs will provide a 40 hour work week - don't assume they will. And that $20/hour will be passed right along to the consumer. Do you think the McDonald's next to this hot mess of a building should be paying their workers $20/hour to say "would you like fries with that"? If that's the case, then those making $20+/hour should have their salaries doubled.

If people don't have the common skills to sit down and budget their money wisely, they have no business breeding and they certainly have no business doing it on the backs of taxpayers. There has got to be some damn responsibility among those who continue to make stupid and poor choices along the way. Single mothers are a huge problem in the Bronx. Perhaps you don't see this living on Godwin Terrace.

Wednesday, July 26
Guess what is coming

How come the local officials seem to pull a Clinton by saying

" I have no knowledge of" "I can't recollect" "I was not informed" "It was the last administrations fault"

When Engel and dingbat or anyone else is asked what type of building is being earmarked for 261 street and Riverdale ave and down 261 street to the middle of the block?

What new zoning codes have been (bought) approved? IMHO

Did Stagg get the go ahead yet?

Seems no one will give a straight answer as to why the land lord refuses to rent these store fronts and why they threw many of the tenants out !!!!

Right next to t saint Margret's parking lot a 4 story (possibly 5) maybe build for low income or a shelter inquiring minds would like to know

Even the Riverdale thrift shop and a local plumbing contractor were thrown out .

Two of these stores are used for some type of storage is there a fire code being overlooked here?

Why are the windows covered that no one can see what is actually going on here?

Wednesday, July 26
Riverdale__NY

@RebeccaLish: I don't understand what you don't understand about this problem. The Community Board has EVERY right to know what is going up. If everything was on the up and up, then why the secrets? It doesn't add up. The only other comment I have is this building is in Kingsbridge NOT in Riverdale. Let's stop saying that Riverdale, NY is doomed and take Geography 101. I am sick of people calling everything Riverdale that isn't. Look at a map. Riverdale along Broadway starts ABOVE West 242nd street. To the west, it starts AT Riverdale Avenue and West 230th and goes up hill from there either up Riverdale Avenue or up Irwin and Johnson Avenues!

Riverdale, NY

Wednesday, July 26
Michael Hinman

Hello, everyone!

Thanks for a very lively discussion on this topic, and trust me, I completely understand the passion coming from both sides.

But as you're commenting, please keep in mind that we still need to respect each other, whether we agree or disagree.

Having a chance to share thoughts is a way to not only help advocate for your views, but also to listen to other views — especially those contrary.

One thing to note — name-calling, personal attacks, release of personal information or anything like that, will be removed. That is not an appropriate way to discuss issues here, and we hope you will help us keep this conversation informative, passionate ... and civil.

If you feel a comment has crossed the line, please copy and paste it to me at mhinman@riverdalepress.com, and I'll be happy to check it out.

Thanks for your understanding, and for sharing your thoughts here!

Wednesday, July 26
Jennifer Scarlott

@Michael Hinman. I appreciate your appearance in this thread, as editor of The Riverdale Press. I am glad that the comment in which someone's personal information appeared has been deleted. While, like you, I appreciate "lively discussion," and am an activist on behalf of our First Amendment rights, I think that a great many commenters in this thread are expressing views that must be rejected, even as their right to express them is defended. I hope that The Riverdale Press, in its leadership role in the NW Bronx, will grapple, in an editorial, with the racism being expressed in this comment thread. The passion that you say you understand on both sides has led one person, for example, to refer to people who are homeless as "inmates, savages, and mongrels." This and other comments are overtly racist. I hope and trust you will use your editorial space to combat them and open a community dialogue.

Wednesday, July 26
MHemings

I sure hope many people will try to attend the Community Board 8 meeting on Thursday, July 27, at the Riverdale YM/YWHA, 5625 Arlington Ave.

This discussion about homeless families being able to live in the new apartment building at 5731 Broadway has revealed significant differences in how people understand this world. The racism and arrogance of those who do not comprehend how people become homeless is quite disturbing. Do you realize that this apartment building on Broadway would house families with children? Did you know that there are more than 120,000 homeless veterans in the US? I would suggest that folks read this highly informative piece: “State of the Homeless 2017” by the Coalition for the Homeless about what is needed to solve the homeless problem in NYC: Here’s the link: https://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/State-of-the-Homeless-2017.pdf

I appreciate Jen Scarlott’s comments, particularly those about the person who referred to people who are homeless as “inmates, savages, and mongrels”! She’s absolutely correct about the racism and sheer ignorance inherent in that disgusting comment.

As one writer in this ongoing discussion said, more than 350 people are currently in need of temporary housing just within Community Board 8! Unfortunately the new building at 5731 Broadway will house only 80 people! So what should we do? There is a tremendous need for housing here and throughout this city (and many other places around the country) because of extreme income inequality, increasingly high rents, unemployment, a growing shortage of low-income housing, and population growth. And NYCHA housing needs to be increased and rents need to be subsidized, which would support Kornbluh's point about our need for permanent affordable housing!

And I believe we especially need permanent supportive housing for people who need help: those who have been chronically homeless, have very low incomes, have HIV/AIDS, or have a mental illness. Our community should provide help to all those who need it! Only by helping folks overcome the challenges they face will we be able help people find jobs, homes, and a decent life. Unfortunately only the rich benefit significantly from the system in which we now live.

Please allow this building at 5731 Broadway to become a location for homeless families, as it’s so very needed!

Wednesday, July 26
Riverdale to Queens

I live in Maspeth, Queens. Left Riverdale a few years ago. My new community came together and stopped a couple of homeless shelters coming to our neighborhood 9 months ago. The community members had two options.

One option was to listen to the "liberal justice warriors" and to read "factual" articles from the different coalitions, etc. so the community would feel at ease. We were told from these sources how we had to help these parents and their children b/c they were all "precious, innocent victims." "Everything was going to be all right."

The second option was to look at the actual FACTS. The facts show that these parents and their kids greatly enhanced the crime and lowered the quality of life in the local AND SURROUNDING NEIGHBORHOOD. Like other commentators have mentioned, our community chose to use the FACTS from the local police and Freedom of Info Act.

We prevailed and won!

So Kingsbridge/Riverdale residents, you're left with these choices it seems like. I'm living in a neighborhood with no homeless shelters. You?

Thursday, July 27
VikingKingsbridge

For 15yrs, I have lived 3 blocks from the site of this location. What is disturbing is our neighborhood "down the hill" has emerged into a very decent, safe place to reside. We have had new retail selections come to our area, improved walkability with less vacant dark spots, and overall the streets have become much much cleaner. Our level of crime has gone increasingly down. It's unfortunate that our up and coming area in the northwest bronx must bear the burden of this development. Who knows how the development at 242 will be processed? First off, why wasn't the development assigned a lottery for "affordable housing"? Our perhaps a lottery for "low income housing" with income caps? Why the rush to produce a brand new building and not give regular folks an opportunity first for a brand new apartment? Hmmm, sounds a bit fishy to me as alluded to by other posters. Big developer/city tax payer money etc. etc. In addition, will the tenants truly be from the Kingsbridge area? Will their "Last Known Address" be verified before processing them into the facility? It always seems like "up the hill" avoids a lot of headaches because the constituency tends to be stronger at the ballot box. Perhaps Kingsbridge residents should take a look at their voting history....do they vote in primaries? do they vote at all? It's time to stop accepting whatever the powers may be hand us and take a more active approach . It's also convenient when many people are out of town or on vacation, there is a 30day notice and a critical meeting to attend.

Thursday, July 27
CelticWoman

@Michael Hinman - no personal information was handed out that wasn't readily available to anyone with half a brain a cell. Simple thing is to not put your real name. Everything else is simple enough.

When people preach to the choir about homeless shelters, etc. but then don't live directly with it, I have a problem w/that and I'm going to call them out on it. How DARE anyone call others racist when they don't have a damn clue. Some of us have experiences that these posters will never, ever understand. I tossed out out my own personal experiences including my former address - that's my business to do so and I dare anyone to challenge me on my opinion as I have LIVED something they never did.

This homeless shelter is a huge mistake. Those who want it need to move in next door to it or demand that it be moved next to their home. Put up or shut up.Then again, I don't live in the area or even near the area so why should I care about what happens to my fellow middle class Bronxites.

Friday, July 28
CelticWoman

@MHemings yes, these are going to be children living in this shelter. Children of single mothers. Children of women who made poor choices and in some instances continue to make poor choices. Women who breed with anything, women who have zero respect for themselves. Oh I'm sure some of them work, flip a burger for minimum wage but I'm willing to bet that most of them don't work and have probably never worked. Even the ones who do work won't give a care in the world because they're not paying rent.

I have commented on this issue, a problem that has plagued my parents block with a Section 8 house. The mother works. I'm not sure if there is a father around. Doesn't matter - they don't pay rent and she allows her darling meal tickets to trash the entire block. NOTHING is done. The police have been called numerous times, the landlord - who lives in the house - knows the deal but doesn't care. He gets his rent every month on time so it doesn't matter to him. They have ruined the block. My parents have lived there for 25 years and never had an issue until this.

It's not anyone's fault that this women, or any woman for that matter, has children that she cannot provide for. This isn't the 1900's. If these females can't get their lives together and think that breeding children is the answer they are in for a rude awakening. This pandering to the irresponsibility has got to stop.

Friday, July 28
Jane Eyre

The politicians are not mean spirited in the least. They are fighting for all members of the Kingsbridge community and they have heard from their constituents. The CB 8 meeting last night was standing room only, with no parking and several police officers. The Broadway corridor has a few homeless/fleabag hotels already wreaking havoc, and affecting the neighborhood and the children. The new editors of the Riverdale Press have ignored history. The Stagg group has a long history of coming before Community Board 8 (and other community boards) and doing the bait and switch - getting the land, promising affordable or market rate, then changing their tune and opening up shelters or supportive housing. They were even quoted in 2014 at a CB 8 meeting (and it was written up in this paper) that they would never do the bait and switch. That they don't agree with it. Nobody is talking too, about the effect on the local schools, all of whom are overcrowded. While land seems to always be found for charter schools and shelters, the DOE cannot ever seem to find land for that new elementary school we have been promised for many years. And don't think for a minute that people were not interested in renting that building. Many staff from the local hospitals (NCB and Montefiore) had their eyes on that building. Being near the 1 train is a huge plus too, for those commuting into the city. Yes, let’s do the right thing. Bult lets do the right thing for Kingsbridge.

Friday, July 28
BCintron

In my research the Stagg Group did this very thing or should say attempted to in Inwood and community board district 6. They succeeded in stopping this venture. For those who say the helpless need to be helped it is the humanitarian thing to do, but not at the expense of middle class communities. In fact, I spoke to Stop & Shop manager the day after NY1 was at the location and dropped off the notice for the 7/27 meeting, and he shared with me at his previous location a homeless shelter was built behind the supermarket and the number of thefts that ensued was innumerable. That the residents would even send there children. I asked him did you call the cops? He responded it reached a point calling them became useless because it would have been a daily affair so other measures were taken. He had planned on contacting his PR & legal department to see if they could attend and speak to anyone in the news (NY1 Noticias was suppose to be there on this day). This can be stopped. If community boards 12 and 6 succeeded I don't see how or why our community board can't do the same.

| Friday, July 28
SJCBronx

There's a lack of generosity and stoking of irrational fears here that reflects a fear about an ability to cope; this frame of mind ends up harming you in the end. (The judgment gets turned on how you view yourself which will make for misery; be more generous to both you and others.)

As a nearly 20-year resident of CB8, I fully support the affordable housing on Broadway and think there's enough space and resilience to support the addition of such new units. They'll blend in fine with others, and everyone will do just fine. Most importantly, it is helpful to children who need a hand up, to avoid similar cycles in their lives.

I do not support Mr. De Blasio's housinig schemes, largely because they are not well thought out. I question that they'll reduce rents. And I am certain they are not considering green infrastructure or supportive infrastructure like additional schools, sewage lines, recreational facilities, etc. With such overbuilding, the city which floods every time it rains will be underwater by 2030. Or there's the fact that new housing could end up gentrifying neighborhoods pushing out many residents, somcething to research.

Mr. Cohen is quite correct, another mechanism is to keep people in their homes. Maybe such a mechanism could be as rent subsidies, as in SCRIE, which Mr. Dinowitz kindly championed.

But mostly as a community we should remain generous with open arms - even if it makes us feel vulnerable -- and always be ready to lift others up.

Saturday, July 29
KbridgeRez

Please see the link below for the petition against the Stagg Group for lying and endangering our community:

https://www.change.org/p/stagg-group-deny-stagg-lies-affordable-housing-bait-and-switch-in-the-bronx

Sunday, July 30
Jennifer Scarlott

Recommended:

NY Times, 3/26/17: Adding homeless shelters is a political risk, but de Blasio sees no alternative: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/26/nyregion/new-york-city-homeless-shelters-de-blasio.html

Monday, July 31
SJCBronx

Good NYTimes article -thank you!

Monday, July 31
KingBway

5731 Broadway is not the right place for a homeless shelter!

DHS did the same thing at Crown Heights Brooklyn, Sleep Inn Brooklyn 247 49th Street Brooklyn, and many many more!!

The neighborhoods are upset with noise, drug use, pan handling, theft, people afraid to walk on their own block!

It's not fair. We have a voice and we say No To a Homeless Shelter!

SAVE OUR NEIGHBORHOOD!

Friday, August 4