NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In an effort to fight homelessness, Mayor Bill de Blasio is planning to build 90 shelters across the city. A little over 20 are already open.
It’s all part of his “Turning the Tides” proposal, but two shelters slated for a Brooklyn neighborhood have been met with quite some opposition.
CBS2’s Nina Kapur reports they’re being built in Park Slope, right off Fourth Avenue.
Combined, they’ll house 253 families and provide them with services including security, after-school care, job training and education.
Former NYC Council speakerwoman Christine Quinn heads “Women In Need,” a nonprofit that will run the shelters.
“This is an area that does not have a lot of homeless shelters for families and is in real need of them,” Quinn said.
She says 70% of the city’s homeless population consists of families with children.
“It’s just inhumane and cruel to think about a mom and her little kids sleeping on the streets. We can’t have that in the greatest city in the world,” Quinn said.
But when it comes to putting these facilities in their neighborhood, Park Slope residents are torn.
“My position on the shelters, I’m against the shelters as is,” resident Bo Spamajopoulos said.
“I think there’s definitely a need for them,” business owner Andrew Holt said.
More than 2,000 people have signed a petition in favor of the shelters, whereas just over 1,200 have signed a petition against them.
Since Park Slope is known for being a progressive neighborhood, some residents say they’re getting some heat for speaking up against the plans.
“We took a long time to build up the community, and now we’re going to put in homeless shelters? I think there’s other places for it,” resident Richard Dimatteo said.
Many say affordable housing units would be more beneficial, but those in favor argue that this will bring diversity to the neighborhood and take children out of unsafe situations.
“New York has an issue with homeless, so we have to make sure that the city and us as residents are taking care of them,” resident Harry Chazichralapus said.
Regardless of the mixed emotions, the plans will move forward. Both shelters are expected to be completed by the end of the year.
A public hearing is being held on Thursday to discuss the cost of the buildings.