Got a letter from a reader regarding a proposed homeless shelter planned for Greenpoint. Not good news.

Photo by Stefano Giovannini via The Brooklyn Paper


Life long greenpointer here 🙂 Just thought I would let you know of a project planned for Greenpoint that concerns me and that you may want to place on your blog.

A four story, 200 bed homeless shelter, is planned for a building on McGuiness and Clay Street. I remember the days of bums all over Greenpoint and we’ve come a very long way since! There are currently artists and musicians living in the building – they would be evicted should this plan go through. Let the fellow Greenpointers on your blog know! Even if you support it – the plan should be made known to the residents regardless and I figured your blog would be a good way to do it.

Thank you!

I looked into and it appears that this is indeed something being planned.

A 200-bed homeless men’s shelter run by Andrew Cuomo’s sister could be coming to Greenpoint — and residents are alarmed.

The New York-based nonprofit HELP USA, one of the country’s largest builders and operators of transitional and permanent low-income housing, is moving towards building one of the largest shelters in North Brooklyn in a four-story industrial building on McGuiness Boulevard at Clay Street.

I’m definitly AGAINST this. The area where this is proposed is already desolate and just in the infancy of being inhabited by people. Young pretty hipsters and their shiny gadgets will be prime targets for these people. For every one down on their luck person put in a bad situation there are hundreds of criminals and drug addicts in the homeless shelter population. This is a BAD fucking idea.

Let them know what a bad idea it is at the next CB1 Board Meeting.


Combined Public Hearing and Board Meeting
Wednesday 9/15 at 6:30 PM
Swinging 60’s Senior Citizens Center
211 Ainslie Street
(Corner of Manhattan Avenue)

UPDATE 9/1/10: Some additional information in a letter dated August 10th to Community Board 1. It indicates that they are proposing a MEN’S Assessment Center for 200 adults. It does note that there will be “extensive security” but the idea of having 200 homeless MEN in our neighborhood does not sit well with me safety wise.

Join the Conversation


  1. I'm so glad you got my email and posted this! Being a life long resident of Greenpoint, I remember the days of bums and they were not pretty!! Voice your opposition to this at the board meeting on Sept 15TH EVERYONE!!!

  2. you know there is or was a batters women's shelter on Clay Street already. The hotel on Manhattan Avenue is enough. It has been a nuisance since I was a kid and that's one of the main reasons why I left. I think Greenpoint has had enough. It has so much history and they are just going to let it fall to pieces.

  3. I wish I wasnt leaving the country tomorrow otherwise I would be on the streets of Greenpoint with a petition asking for signatures to bring to the board meeting on Sept 15th! Someone do it if you've got the time! Fight for your hip, full of life and happening neighborhood to keep getting better – not worse!

  4. I volunteer at a homeless shelter through my job, and it's been a rewarding experience. The staff helps them on their recovery, and a number of residents have "graduated" with jobs and places to live. I have never felt threatened or worried that my property was in danger when helping in the kitchen.

  5. I live across the street the proposed shelter. While I understand and share some–not all–of the concerns about the proposed homeless shelter, I am hopeful that the community's discussion of the issue will remain civil and not hyperbolic.

    The truth is that the size and operator of a given homeless shelter matter more than the mere existence of it. A well-run operation will hardly be noticeable.

    On the other hand, a poorly-run shelter will keep my rent low!

    The prospect of evicting the artists and other good people who live in the building is what most concerns me. Rather, DHS and HELP USA should look for space in those new condo buildings…

    Also, the targeted buildings aren't zoned for residential use, so DHS would have to do a lot of work to get the proper C of O's, etc.

  6. The location is very problematic, notably for those who walk the bridge from the 7 (because the B62 doesn't serve the northern part). It can already be sketchy at the base of the BK side of the bridge. I also can only imagine how many fatalities are in the future because of that traffic and proximity.

    And yes, women will be receiving a lot of unwanted attention. We already deal with this on a daily basis. Avoiding the gropes of drunk old men is par for the course, but at least I know where to be extra careful already.

    Perhaps it's the easiest dumping ground, or that they think they will receive little opposition from bleeding hearts such as myself who have moved to the area within the last 10 years. They are wrong on both counts. I really resent that I have to assume a "NIMBY" role, but a neighborhood can only take so much. We already have more than our fair share of these places.

    Greenpointers: does anyone have a list of exactly what we do have in terms of "official" community centers/shelters/flophouses? This would be incredibly helpful for the upcoming meeting.

  7. Being that this is being spearheaded by a Cuomo makes me feel like getting all the beaurocracy paperwork in place somehow won't be as difficult as it usually would be.

    I'm not against helping homeless people get back on their feet. I'm not. But that area has always been dicey and it's just started to become safe to walk after the sun goes down in the last few years, now we want to put "one of the largest shelters in North Brooklyn" here?

    If anyone knows where a list of existing sheleters/halfway houses/etc. can be obtained, that would be very helpful for people intending on attending the meeting in opposition to be armed with.

  8. I'd also like to say that I believe instead of a homeless shelter, low income housing would be a better option. Families who need housing in a safe neighborhood and can become part of the community.

    Low income housing would help people right here already in Greenpoint and areas of North Brooklyn.

  9. The proposed site for this shelter is a block and a half away from the DEP Nature Walk. It is an open space that has not yet have maintenence or security.
    Also, there are known emissions of chloroform at the corner of Paidge Ave & Provost St.
    Now, if the homeless shelter is for families, I'm against that. Those families will be unknowingly be put in harms way. It's one thing to be exposed to an emission briefly, while visiting an open space. It's another to live there, and be exposed daily, all day long.
    And yes, if it's a men's shelter, I wouldn't like that either. That would indeed put women at risk, considering that the area is not populated.
    A homeless shelter is fine. They just have to do a better job at siting it. I'd rather see the shelter go in a more populated area. That would be better for everyone.

  10. Having been born at 1116 Manhattan Avenue in January of 1951, I am well aware of this street! To allow a homeless shelter at that location would be the demise of Greenpoint. Although I no longer live in Greenpoint or for that matter in New York——to me Greenpoint will always be "home"!

    Perhaps if your readers who attend this public hearing, they can propose this: Ms. Cuomo should find a suitable building close to where she lives. This way she can be close by to check on her "pet project" and make sure it is run the way she thinks it will be run. I would almost bet you dollars to donuts that she would be the first one to object to any homeless shelter built in her backyard!

    Quite frankly, why not use the old Greenpoint Hospital if they have not torn that down. I am positive that there are many other places that would be more suitable for a homeless shelter that would be closer to medical services, social services and transportation. I truly hope that the residents of Greenpoint band together and jam the hall of that meeting and let their voices be heard!

    Good Luck to everyone. I truly wish I were still in Greenpoint to lead the way to this fight!!

    Beverly Ann Schubis
    Formerly of Greenpoint

  11. As a Greenpoint resident who reads this blog daily, I was really disappointed in this post. Since there's little info on either this site or after the jump on how the program providers plan to manage the building or even what type of program the building will house (other than there will be 200 beds, and considering the size of this building, that could mean 200 studio apartments for long-term transitional housing for the working poor) it would seem like a good idea to wait and hear from the program organizers before jumping to conclusions about what will or won't happen if the shelter opens. I hope the agency in charge will take time to introduce itself to neighbors and community leaders and change some minds.

  12. Please take a look at the update I just posted as it gives you additional information.

    Some additional information that seems this is even worse than I expected.

  13. Information compiled by a concerned resident:

    This page is to spread the word about a proposed 4 story 200 bed homeless shelter planned for Greenpoint Brookyn. This neighborhood has made significant progress in the last few years, and this project jeopardizes that progress – as well as the future of Greenpoint.

    The organization responsible for this project is Help USA run by Maria Cuomo Cole – sister of New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Help USA's shelters have garnered criticism over the way they are run. There is prostitution, drugs and frequent police intervention present at their other shelters.

    Greenpoint, as well as nearby Williamsburg, has a number of facilities for the homeless. Additionally, there is a battered women's shelter on the same street as the proposed 200 bed men's shelter – this could very well lead to conflict.

    The location for this proposed shelter is McGuinness Blvd and Clay street in an old warehouse building. The area itself is desolate with little traffic – sketchy enough already for people, especially women, walking down from the Pulaski Bridge in the evening when the B62 bus is not running according to schedule.

    Currently there are a number of residents living in the building. Artists and musicians occupy lofts and would be evicted should this plan go forward – making them homeless.

    In recent years Greenpoint has been taken over by expensive condos and tall apartment buildings, which have forced many native Greenpointers out of the area. Rents have increased as well as property taxes – this shelter would bring property values down, further hurting people, homeowners and businesses already struggling to stay in the area.

    In recent years the homeless population has gone down in Greenpoint – decreasing by 43% since 2005. Why should there be 200 be brought in to increase the population once again?

    Greenpoint is as much of a youthful and hip neighborhood as it is a family neighborhood. Having 200 homeless people roaming the streets at all hours of the day and night could put children at risk and force parents to worry. I grew up in Brooklyn and I remember the days of homeless people all around, knowing which streets to avoid and crime. We now have one of the lowest crime rates in Brooklyn – why jeopardize that?

    Safety and crime are a major concern because of the size and location of the shelter. It would house 200 men in a desolate area. The area is already unsafe and this shelter would only make it worse.


    A much more suitable alternative to this project would be the creation of low-income housing. Many people have been forced out of Greenpoint due to the increase in rents etc. Creating low income housing will allow residents to come back to Greenpoint, and families to settle here who were not able to before.

    Low income housing would create jobs, as well as turn the unsafe and desolate area into a more livable and safe area. Families will be able to move in and businesses will open – allowing for further growth of the neighborhood.

    PLEASE "LIKE" THIS PAGE and feel free to comment!

    It will be used at the Community Board meeting on Sept 15th during the discussion about this project. Thank you very much!

    Combined Public Hearing and Board Meeting
    Wednesday 9/15 at 6:30 PM
    Swinging 60's Senior Citizens Center
    211 Ainslie Street
    (Corner of Manhattan Avenue)

  14. UHM……. I live in the building attached to that one. Not looking forward to 200 men gang raping me on my rooftop. Big thanks to the idiot Cuomo who wants to endanger everybody with this idealistic but downright stupid plan.

  15. I lived in that building for 3 years. It was my first real home in New York. I was evicted July 1st, 2010 and was forced to pack up my life, both business and personal, and relocate. Now I am struggling to pay rent on both a home and a studio, in order to continue making my art and meager living. I was never told what was coming, only that I was meant to leave. I am only one of the many, long standing tenants in the building. We have all been forced to leave our homes and businesses. I knew tenants who had lived in the building for almost 15 years. This seems like a step in the wrong direction to me. How is displacement of responsible residents in an established location a means of solution for the fight against homelessness? I completely agree with the proposed use of the countless empty condo projects that infect the North Brooklyn corridor. Many of which remain unfinished, unfilled, unused. Why clear an occupied space when there is such an abundance of empty buildings elsewhere?

    In the end, it is all a question of money. The previous owners were only concerned with the sale of their property. There was no concern paid to the wellbeing of the existing tenants, nor to the future intentions of any prospective buyers. Instead, all eyes were kept on profit. This situation exists everywhere and people can get angry and petition all they want, but at the end of the day, money is all there is. The one true law of the land.

    While I do find the proposed homeless shelter a rather interesting use of the space, my only concern is that it masks a deeper problem; a complete disregard for the people who called the building home.

  16. According to the information I just received from CB01, they have scheduled a Joint Committee meeting on Sep 27th. The agenda consists of a presentation by the NYC Dept of Homeless Services, and HELP USA has been invited to give their update (no update on whether they are attending). I assume this will be discussed at October's Public Hearing on the 13th, yes? Regardless, 400 McGuinness doesn't appear to be on the agenda for next week's public hearing:

  17. What about all the homeless men already living in McCarren Park and McGolrick park? Wouldn't it be nice for them to have a safe sheltered place to go, where they might get services that help them move beyond their current situation,rather than the public parks and streets? This is a clear case of NIMBY-ism. Who do you think the proposed clients are? They are already part of this community. I hope the discussion on the 27th is informative and a substansive debate happens, and not a lot of pushing problems out of one neighborhood and into another.

  18. Those people in Winthrop Park have been there the last 30+ years and probably longer. They are drunks and drug addicts who are never even gonna step foot in that homeless shelter.

    Many of the people you think are homeless around the neighborhood are actually not. I know people's fathers who are long term addicts and fall asleep on those benches and around the neighborhood. It's sad, but Greenpoint has always had a problem with drunks. Maybe they should open up an alcohol rehab center instead.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *