City Still Looking for Good Samaritan Church to Shelter Greenpoint Homeless

By Meredith Hoffman on February 15, 2012 12:45pm 

GREENPOINT — The city is still pushing to find a neighborhood church willing to accept a grant to start a program to shelter homeless people in the neighborhood.

But several homeless advocates are hesitant to jump in and run the pilot program, claiming the city has failed to clearly communicate the details of the funding, which is supposed to allow a local church or religious organization to run a shelter. Those advocates say the city won't commit to a specific dollar amount.

DNAinfo reported earlier this month that a pastor at the Greenpoint Reformed Church had turned down an offer of up to $100,000 to shelter the homeless.

Pastor Ann Kansfield said she declined the offer because her family lives in the building, and she felt that the church already offered a host of other programs for the needy.

"The offer is still on the table," said Jody Rudin, the Department of Homeless Services assistant commissioner for Street Homelessness Solutions.

Pastor John Merz said his Church of Ascension could host a shelter, but felt the funding proposal was vague and that made his board nervous about the logistics of such a plan.

"The second I stumble," Merz said, of being unable to answer board members' questions about specifics of the shelter plan, "they say, 'This is going to be a disaster.'"

Rudin said that the DHS is open to exploring different options, and would listen to the community's feedback.

"We're a committed partner," she said, "and we want to think of creative solutions."

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