The city’s proposal to create a homeless shelter in Bath Beach has received mixed reactions from the community.
The site, at 2147 Bath Ave., would house 150 single men in dorm-like rooms, with two or three occupants per room. Because the shelter would be within 1,000 feet of a school, it wouldn’t accept anyone who has been convicted of sexual offenses.
Assemblymember William Colton said a developer responded to the city’s request for a proposal to build the shelter in the neighborhood.
On Jan. 29, members of Community Board 11 joined elected officials, representatives from NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and Institute for Community Living (ICL) to discuss the matter.
Pat Mattell of ICL, a human service agency, said the group was approached by DHS and had already identified a potential builder.
“Our response directly to DHS is that we were interested and willing to help,” Mattell said.
“We have sites all across the city in every type of neighborhood,” said Matthew Borden of DHS.
“We don’t think there is any inappropriate place to put a homeless shelter in this situation.”
CB 11 Chairperson William Guarinello said there are problems with the plans, including zoning issues.
“We don’t think that particular site fits the zoning,” Guarinello said. “If you still want to pursue it, then you would have to come before us with a special permit.”
Guarinello also said the presence of several care centers near the proposed shelter could lead to oversaturation.
“Just two and a half blocks away we have the Kings Adult Care Center and 200 beds are there,” he said. “King David Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 271 beds are there, and the Haym Salomon Home for Nursing and Rehabilitation has 240 beds.”
He also said that a number of families in the area need help.
“We now have in Bensonhurst 1,200 families that are in temporary housing,” he said. “Families, not men. We, from a community board perspective, felt that it was misaligned. This should have been more of a family shelter if you are going to serve the homeless in our community.”
Councilmember Mark Treyger agreed with Guarinello that there wasn’t any input from the community about where to place a shelter.
“There was no consultation [from DHS] with my office and I am pretty certain there was no consultation with other offices and the community board,” he said. “The consultation was a phone call that there’s going to be a meeting about a shelter location that was already selected in CB 11. Not asking us if the location fits. Not asking about zoning issues or social infrastructure.”
Colton said a public hearing should be held to give the community a chance to voice its concerns and get specific answers.