NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The men’s shelter at Bellevue Hospital in Kips Bay is no stranger to trouble – a man was murdered there in April.
But as CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, neighbors say the shelter’s problems have been trickling onto their streets for years, and they want the city to do something about it.
The Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital at East 30th Street and First Avenue has housed the homeless and served as the citywide homeless intake center for men for more than 30 years.
But for Terri Pennacchia, this homeless shelter is her living nightmare.
“We’re going to move, because I don’t want to live across the street with my kids,” she said.
Pennacchia lives in the building directly across from the 850-bed shelter. She and her neighbors shared countless pictures of homeless men from the shelter in their Kips Bay neighborhood – doing drugs, passed out and partially exposed.
One man was even seen defecating right in front of her building.
“I mean, this is commonplace!” Pennacchia said. “I wish I could tell you that that was a horrible thing that happened once in a blue moon.”
Tony Rodriguez is the live-in super at Pennacchia’s building, where they have installed fences to keep the homeless from loitering. Rodriguez said not all the shelter men are trouble.
“The problem with is the people that they just come out from jail, and they book over here, you know, till they get on their feet, of course,” he said. “Some of them, they have to go back to jail.”
The Department of Homeless Services said the number of discharged prisoners that went directly into city shelters increased by more than 800 from 2014 to 2015.
But as a result of the city’s 90-day review of homeless services, the city is now working with the state to find alternative places to transition released prisoners.
A Homeless Services spokesman said the city has already reached out to shelter neighbors, and “will continue this work to meet the needs of both the community and shelter residents.”
Some residents suggest scaling back the shelter capacity.
“There is no way that anyone can handle 850 beds,” said Karen May of the Kips Bay Neighborhood Association.
But for now, the Kips Bay neighborhood will have to do so.