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Family Shelter Opens on Rogers Avenue Amid Opposition From Locals

 A new homeless shelter at 267 Rogers Ave. in Crown Heights will temporarily house 132 families, the city has said.
A new homeless shelter at 267 Rogers Ave. in Crown Heights will temporarily house 132 families, the city has said.
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DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith

CROWN HEIGHTS — Despite opposition from neighbors preparing to file a lawsuit, homeless families have already started moving into a new shelter on Rogers Avenue in Crown Heights, city officials said Tuesday.

Ten families with children moved into 267 Rogers Ave. on Monday, according to the Department of Homeless Services, the first of 132 families set to come to the transitional shelter run by the nonprofit Samaritan Village.

More families will arrive over the next few weeks, said DHS spokesman Isaac McGinn.

“Working in partnership with service provider Samaritan Village and the community, we’re confident that our clients will be warmly welcomed to the neighborhood — and that, together, with support and compassion, we will make this the best experience it can be for these families as they get back on their feet,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

Since it was announced in March, the plan for the shelter — one of 90 new facilities planned to open under the city’s overhaul of DHS — has been met with skepticism and anger from locals. Neighbors of the building loudly criticized the shelter at a public town hall, demanded the shelter instead be turned into low-income housing and spoke about suing the city.

For weeks, a nearby block association said they planned to file a lawsuit similar to one brought by Crown Heights residents trying to halt the opening of a controversial men’s shelter on Bergen Street. But as of Monday, no paperwork had been filed according to Dion Ashman, president of the Crown Street Block Association.

In addition to housing formerly homeless families, 20 percent of the Rogers Avenue building will be affordable rentals units, to be filled through the city’s housing lottery.

A total of four homeless shelters have opened since Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his plan to revamp the city’s shelter system in February. In addition to the Rogers Avenue facility, a shelter for women is operating in Prospect Heights and two shelters — one for families and one for LGBT youth — are operating in the Belmont section of The Bronx.

The new shelters are part of an effort to close all cluster and hotel sites, the mayor said, and reduce the total population in shelters by 2,500 people in five years. Currently, a record-high 62,000 New Yorkers are in the shelter system according to the latest figures from Coalition for the Homeless.