City Council Approves Resolution to Combat BRC Shelter

By Meredith Hoffman on July 28, 2011 9:21pm 

CITY HALL — Building off momentum generated against the newly-opened BRC shelter and treatment center, the City Council voted Thursday to join a fight to shutter the controversial Chelsea facility. 

The Council will now request to join the lawsuit filed last year by the Chelsea Business and Property Owners Association, also known as the Chelsea Flatiron Coalition, seeking to close the 328-bed residence at 127 W. 25th St., which welcomed its first clients Wednesday.

"We're very hopeful that the Council's extra involvement will affect the case," said Council Speaker Christine Quinn in a press conference.

Quinn said that the Council is "not opposed to having a shelter in Chelsea," but has argued for months that the shelter's size exceeds the local legal limit of 200 beds.

"These large shelters just don't end up serving the homeless at all," she explained.

It will be up to a judge to decide whether the Council can add its name as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, which was filed against the city, which oversees the Department of Homeless Services, which is responsible for the BRC shelter.

Meanwhile, the city defended its creation of the shelter as perfectly legal, and added that it has already won a preliminary hearing about the facility.

"The city's actions with regard to this facility were proper and lawful," wrote city attorney Christopher King in an email to DNAinfo. "We believe the petitioners' claims lack merit and should be dismissed."

Muzzy Rosenblatt, executive director of BRC, was not available immediately for comment.

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