Protests Considered Against Norwood Shelter

Protests Considered Against Norwood Shelter
COUNCILMAN ANDREW COHEN (r) has been in talks with the city Department of Homeless Services to have the agency reconsider a homeless shelter on Webster Avenue in Norwood.
Photo by Reggie Francois

Following acrimony over the city Department of Homeless Services’ proposal to establish a homeless shelter across from an elementary school on Webster Avenue in Norwood, Community Board 7 still appears to be at an impasse in getting the city to reconsider.

But Councilman Andy Cohen, who attended the board’s Sept. 12 Land Use/Housing & Zoning Committee meeting, said the city did not give him a “definitive answer” on whether it will relent and scout for a shelter elsewhere.

“They have not made the changes we have asked for,” said Cohen, “and so I think it’s going to require some organization on our part. I think it’s time to prepare for the worst.”

For Jean Hill, committee chair, that means protesting. Hill noted that the board will start a petition to organize a demonstration opposing the shelter the city is considering to build at Sam’s Floor Covering at 3041 Webster Ave.

“You just have to be proactive about it,” said Hill. “It doesn’t take a whole lot of people.”

The property owner of the carpet business submitted paperwork to the city Buildings Department that would convert the property to a space allowing for sleeping accommodations while adding another floor to the current two-story property. The proposed shelter at the carpet business could accommodate more than 200 people once built.

Should it be a men’s only shelter, members worry there could be a lot of homeless wandering about unsupervised.

“It’s not a humane solution for anyone,” said Helene Hartman-Kutnowsky. Hartman-Kutnowsky, a CB7 board member, said her concern was for the group of homeless men that may have mental illnesses or drug problems. “Since there is such a big push to find housing for people, there has to be a way that’s humane for them. Having people sleep in a shelter and then get pushed out and have no place to go for the whole day is really not a solution.”

She also pointed out that the board’s alternate location it proposed, a former social services space at 3600 Jerome Ave., did not seem plausible either because of its proximity to the Bronx Dance Academy School.

John Reilly, a Bedford Park resident with a background in housing, suspects a majority of the homeless shelters, as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to build 90 shelters across the city, coming into the Bronx borough were being placed in the West Bronx.

“It’s documented that a lot of these shelters, cluster houses and everything are being thrown into the Bronx,” said Hill. “We don’t mind taking out their share, but we are not going to be the dumping ground for anybody.”


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3 thoughts on “Protests Considered Against Norwood Shelter

  1. David hochhauser

    Who said the shelter residents,will
    Be pushed out onto the street,
    This is,false,i am sure,in kingsbridge
    We will have 83 familys,living in a bulding
    With service,for them and programs
    And securityto protect them
    The politacins,are spreading false,storys,
    The homeless do not vote,so the mayor
    And the council ignore the poor
    The. City must provide clean safe
    Affordable,housing and in our
    City it is,impossable

  2. Anthony R,

    Good reporting Reggie and Norwood News! and well done Councilman Cohen and Community Board 7 for leading the charge against this bad idea.

    shelters are entirely different than supportive or transitional housing.

    I volunteer at a men’s shelter and the men staying there have to leave by 7am.
    Where will 200 homeless men go at 7am, Mosholu park? I can attest there is no service or security during the daytime at shelters, or when kids are going to and from PS20.

    homeless men do need help, but shelters like the one being built at 3041 Webster do not help anyone. only the owner of the building and the so called “service provider” benefits from all the money he or she will receive from the City to “warehouse the poor.” only long-term, permanent and affordable apartments will genuinely help a homeless person.

    everyone, Note that the councilman and the community board have proposed alternative sites. No one is saying “not in my community.” the issue is the elementary school.

    Why should people like the owner of Sam’s profit off the poor while putting elementary kids at risk?
    And why should any of our tax dollars support this injustice?

    These are questions the Mayor needs to answer before getting my vote in November.

  3. Sgt Chaplain Sandra pabon

    Never allow this we have enough to worry about with 2 housing complex being build already men 200 of them ?? No way protest fight like hell this neighborhood is being dumb the dumb dumb dumb but nothing but homeless shelters homeless people and mental health people setting camp outside I our neighborhood . Some selling Itims on the Avenue stop now we r in living in this norm that it’s ok to be around unwanted mental illness individuals

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