CARROLL GARDENS— The Department of Homeless Services has moved 120 homeless veterans displaced by Sandy into a proposed long-term shelter on West Ninth Street, and says the new residents will stay there for as long as needed.
Last month, Housing Solutions USA proposed a 170-bed shelter for a building located at 165 W. Ninth St.
But while that plan waits for approval, the DHS is using the space to provide housing for 120 homeless veterans who were displaced by Sandy from Borden Avenue shelter in Long Island City.
The new residents were moved into the shelter on Nov. 6, and the agency assured the community board that they would reside there for “less than month,” said Craig Hammerman, district manager of Community Board Six, in an announcement.
The agency, however, did not specify a deadline when asked for comment.
“Homeless veterans displaced from their shelter by the storm will remain there as long as needed,” said Heather Janick, a spokeswoman for the DHS.
As for the long-term shelter proposed for the space, the DHS said those plans are still undecided.
“We are operating at West Ninth under emergency, and no plans for future use have been determined,” Janick said.
While local residents blasted the proposal to build a long-term shelter in the space — citing inadequate space and a potential hike in quality-of-life issues as reasons — the emergency shelter gives residents a realistic taste of what it might be like if the space became a permanent shelter.
One resident said that because the veterans do not have enough space to smoke, they resort to congregating outside of the building and other buildings surrounding it.
“The men are veterans,” said Steven Gladstone, a resident of Carroll Gardens. “They don’t have enough personal space or a place to smoke, so they congregate outside of the building.
“They congregate in front of other buildings up late. The security guards hang around outside after shift change. The veterans I spoke to…were shocked that the city was planning on putting 170 people in the building.”