CROWN HEIGHTS — Three shelters are set to open in the neighborhood, at least two of them within the next two months, as part of a plan to create 90 new facilities for homeless New Yorkers, city officials said Wednesday.
The first of those will open this month on Bergen Street, DNAinfo New York first reported Tuesday, housing 106 men over 50 years old. Another shelter, housing up to 132 families, will open at 265 Rogers Ave. in April, the mayor mentioned Tuesday afternoon as part of his bold plan to overhaul Department of Homeless Services facilities.
A third shelter, located at 174 Prospect Pl. in Prospect Heights, is also set to open soon, DHS officials told DNAinfo on Wednesday but would not provide further details. However, a representative from service provider Center for Urban Community Services told DNAinfo the location will be used by the group as a 90-bed transitional housing facility for homeless women.
The four shelters are the first to roll out under the mayor's plan to eliminate homeless “cluster” and hotel sites by 2018, DHS said. The agency said one shelter among the 90, located at 480 East 185th St. in The Bronx, is already open and operating.
The agency said notification has been provided to the community regarding the Bronx shelter and the three soon to open in Prospect Heights and Crown Heights. However, it’s unclear how residents have been notified about the facilities; a public meeting is scheduled this Saturday to discuss the Bergen Street shelter, but DHS did not provide information about how residents were alerted or where they can get more information about the projects.
In its 114-page report outlining the plan for the new shelters, they city said the community, local NYPD precinct and area elected officials will be notified about each planned shelter at least 30 days before it opens.
If requested, the city will meet with residents to hear feedback on each shelter, then “make efforts to modify the proposal, where possible, in accordance with reasonable concerns raised by the community.”
At his announcement Tuesday, the mayor made clear “that does not mean if there’s protest, we change our minds,” he said. But he promised to give advance notice and a chance to residents to offer input.
“We want people to come to the table with us, offer their concerns,” he said.
Preference for residents of the Rogers Avenue shelter will be given to people from Crown Heights and the “immediately surrounding neighborhoods,” the mayor said, bringing dozens of homeless families now scattered all over the city to their home base.
“In our shelter system right now, there are 120 families from Crown Heights, but some are in Brooklyn, some are in Queens, some are in Manhattan, some are in The Bronx. They’re all being brought home to their home community,” he said.
Brooklyn Community Board 8, which covers Prospect Heights and much of Crown Heights, is currently home to seven DHS shelters, according to analysis by DNAinfo, including the 350-bed men’s shelter at the armory on Bedford and Atlantic avenues. However, the area does not have any “cluster” or commercial hotels housing homeless residents or families, the mayor’s report says.
Currently, there are a record high 60,000 homeless residents in the New York shelter system.