Homeless shelter is too big, say East Flatbush residents

Residents have banded together to oppose the construction of what they contend is an outsized homeless shelter in East Flatbush.

On Saturday, August 10, members of the community stood with Councilmember Jumaane Williams to make their case to the city at the site of the planned facility.

“I know these services are needed but I don’t see the need to overburden the community,” said Williams.

Women in Need (WIN) has already begun construction of a 180-bed shelter at 4612 Glenwood Road, a plan that community members responded to with outrage, some saying that they were not even informed about the plan.

According to Heather Janik, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeless Services, DHS, the establishment of the homeless shelter should not have come as a surprise to the community.

“The community was first notified of this project back in 2010 and Homeless Services and the provider have been actively meeting with the community and elected officials since the site was approved,” Janik said.

But, Williams, who is pro-affordable housing, does not see the need for such a vast unit in small community.

“My question is why are they building 180 units in an area that is primarily one family homes?” said the councilmember. In contrast, he pointed out that the agency sited a much smaller, 70-unit shelter in Chelsea, a much denser area.

“My plan is to do whatever needs to be done to bring them (WIN and DHS) to the table to make this project a much smaller project,” he said.

WIN is a nonprofit organization that provides homeless mothers and their children with housing and the services they need to rebuild their lives and move forward. Currently, Win has eight homeless shelters throughout Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx.

In a given year, WIN will house over 9,000 people and the average stay is one month. WIN referred all calls regarding the shelter to DHS.

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