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Crown Heights Residents Decry Planned Mental Health Housing On Block

Nonprofit: Complex Would House Medicated People Who Contribute To Society

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Controversy has erupted in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where a local nonprofit plans to build a facility that will predominantly house people who are mentally ill.

But as CBS 2’s Andrea Grymes reported, many neighbors said their residential block is not the place to do it.

The Manhattan-based nonprofit The Bridge plans to build the eight-story building. The planned site of the facility is an empty, overgrown lot on one-way street full of one- and two-family homes.

“When we heard about it, we were shocked,” said Judy Walker, who lives on the block of Maple Street in Brooklyn where the facility is planned.

Neighbors do not understand why their block was chosen as the proposed site.

“I understand they all have somewhere they have to live, too, but why this quiet little block?” said resident Jarrett Williams.

“A lot of us kids live here, and no one wants to come out and see an 8-story building right there,” said Tianna Herrington, 10, who lives next door to the site.

The local community board said 20 percent of the Maple Street building will be affordable housing. The rest will be for medicated people who are mentally ill, but also contributing members of society.

The building will also have a community garden.

Still, neighbors said they were not told about the plans until it was too late.

Sisters Judy and Daleen Walker have lived on the block for 40 years, and said their neighborhood already has a psychiatric facility. And they said patients at the facility already have caused problems in the area.

“Urinate where they want to urinate, open your gate and walk in, search through the garbage cans,” Daleen Walker said.

But not everyone is against The Bridge’s plans.

Brooklyn Community Board 9 District Manager Pearl Miles told CBS 2: “They want to be good neighbors…. They’re not here to make (block residents’) lives miserable.”

Miles insisted she told the block association about the plans back in April. She said The Bridge is willing to incorporate concerns into their final designs.

Despite what the nonprofit said, those who spoke to CBS 2’s Grymes said they will continue fighting to make sure the facility does not move onto their block.

CBS 2 made several attempts Monday to speak with a representative from the non-profit sponsoring the building, but has not heard back. There was no word Monday on when construction was to start.

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