New York City just hit a milestone you might not have heard about. The amount of homeless people living in shelters is 57,665 people – a new record. According to a report released in October, New York’s homeless population grew last year, with almost 68,000 people without a permanent residence–all this while the number of luxury apartments for sale in Manhattan doubled in the last year. Meanwhile, homelessness is down across the country.
In the wake of this new reality, New York City’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS) announced a new homeless shelter will open in Greenpoint at 58-66 Clay Street. The shelter will be operated by Home Life Services, Inc. and will shelter 91 homeless adult families. A timeline for opening has not been set.
The new shelter was announced in letters to Community Board 1 and elected officials from Camille Rivera, the Deputy Commissioner for Communications and External Affairs at DHS. Assemblymember Joseph Lentol wrote back a letter the next day protesting the opening.
Assemblymember Lentol’s letter voiced some serious concerns such as the lack of transparency in how the location was chosen compared to where other new shelters are going, and the safety of the shelter’s selected location given it’s proximity to an existing 200 bed shelter on Clay and McGuiness Avenue that houses men with criminal records. This shelter is also not without controversy, as some residents are registered sex offenders.
The Assemblyman also questions if the new shelter adheres to Fair Share Criteria established by the City Charter in 1989 which “required the City Planning Commission to adopt criteria to further the fair distribution of the burdens and benefits associated with city facilities, consistent with community needs for services and efficient and cost effective delivery of services and with due regard for the social and economic impacts of such facilities upon the areas surrounding the sites.” (Sidenote: New York City’s charter was only established in 1989?)
No other details have been made public so far, but we’ll keep you posted as more information comes out.