Bellevue Shelter Residents Have Been Exposing Themselves To Children, Neighbors Say

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — People have been stashing knives, tools, and needles in bushes and flower pots in a Manhattan neighborhood and residents say it’s just the beginning.

Even on a beautiful day, residents in Kips Bay like married mother of two Terri Pennacchia, said it’s hard to keep a sunny disposition while living next to the massive 850 bed Bellevue Men’s Homeless Shelter.

“There have been quite a few upsetting incidents this year,” she said, “Grabbing young girls, exposing themselves in front of kids, walking across the street and seeing someone with no pants on.”

Pennacchia’s husband shared photos of homeless men sleeping on the sidewalk near their apartment building across the street from the shelter on East 30th Street and 1st Ave, as well as a picture of a man caught performing a lewd act in public.

A year ago, CBS2 spoke with Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks about the issues with shelter clients in Kips Bay.

Banks vowed to make changes.

“That will improve safety for residents in the shelter, and in the community,” he said.

Residents say things have gotten worse.

Building super Antonio Rodriguez said his staff discovered knives and blades hidden in flower pots and under bushes. A CBS2 news team was with him when he discovered hypodermic needles and a massive kitchen knife buried in dirt.

“They hide weapons over here because they can’t bring them into the shelter,” he told CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez.

CBS2 tried to speak with Commissioner Banks about these safety concerns, but a Human Resources Administration spokesperson said his schedule would not accommodate an interview.

Former Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Homeless Services Robert Mascali said the city could easily improve safety around the shelter.

“I think they could put a security guard on the corner, or the NYPD could put one of those outposts on the corner. The building should put up security cameras and put up a sign that says they’re being filmed,” he said.

Pennacchia said if something isn’t done soon, her family is moving out.

 

 

 

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