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Big homeless shelter planned for Greenpoint

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A 200-bed homeless men’s shelter run by Andrew Cuomo’s sister could be coming to Greenpoint — and residents are alarmed.

The New York-based nonprofit HELP USA, one of the country’s largest builders and operators of transitional and permanent low-income housing, is moving towards building one of the largest shelters in North Brooklyn in a four-story industrial building on McGuiness Boulevard at Clay Street.

A city official confirmed this week that HELP USA CEO Larry Bilensky had submitted a proposal. But Community Board 1 District Manager Gerry Esposito said that the company has declined his invitation to present the plan to the public at the board’s Sept. 15 meeting.

The 24-year-old nonprofit, led by Executive Board Chairwoman Maria Cuomo Cole, has managed several transitional housing facilities in the northeast, including the HELP Women’s Center in Brownsville, which has drawn heavy criticism from neighbors who accuse its guests of prostitution and drug abuse (see sidebar).

The men’s shelter, which would provide “comprehens­ive assessments, support services, and housing placement assistance” to homeless clients referred by the city, would be HELP USA’s first venture into Greenpoint.

The Greenpoint warehouse is located in a sparsely populated industrial stretch of north Greenpoint bordered by the Pulaski Bridge onramp, Newtown Creek, and the city’s sprawling sewage treatment plant.

The commercial building itself takes up half a city block, is zoned for light manufacturing use, but the building’s prior owner appeared to be taking the initial steps to make it more livable by removing partitions and plumbing fixtures earlier this month.

But the loft building is home to several artists and residents, who could be difficult to evict with the recent passage of the loft law giving tenants in illegally converted industrial buildings additional rights.

The presence of men’s shelters in North Brooklyn is not new.

Three shelters exist in Williamsburg including a facility just for teenagers, and the city recently closed a 1,200-bed shelter off Kingsland Avenue with a plan to build affordable housing on the site.

Nearby business owners don’t want to see more shelters coming to Greenpoint, arguing that there are enough facilities nearby and that the new shelter will “bring down the neighborho­od.”

“With such a big homeless facility, people will wander around,” said Jack Karczmarz, who owns a small repair shop on McGuinness Boulevard who is organizing a group of businesses against the proposal. “There’s no question we’ll have an increase in crime. This neighborhood just started to build up a few years ago.”

Laura Hofmann, who lives two blocks away, worries that the introduction of a men’s shelter to a desolate industrial neighborhood would be bad both for residents and the homeless, who would have difficulty accessing emergency services that are not nearby.

“I would prefer that it’s families, but the site is not really good for them either, since it is such a deserted area,” said Hofmann.

According to the Department of Homeless Services, there were an estimated 336 homeless individuals in Brooklyn in 2008, a decrease of 24 percent from the previous year, and a drop of 43 percent since 2005.

The HELP USA proposal would likely serve homeless individuals far beyond Greenpoint — but details of the shelter and its target demographic remain unclear. Representatives from HELP USA have been invited to appear at the next Community Board 1 meeting on Sept. 15 to speak about the plan, but have not confirmed attendance.

Bilensky did not return multiple calls for comment, referring all inquiries to the Department of Homeless Services, which is currently reviewing the plan and would not speak of it.

Updated 12:23 pm, August 31, 2010: Turns out, HELP has not briefed Community Board 1.
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Reader Feedback

BA from Greenpoint says:
great, the lowest crime neighborhood in north Brooklyn about to be ruined. Of course the disenfranchised immigrants of north brooklyn, Polish and Hispnaic, have no voting power so the city can dump all over us.

CB1 better get its act together on this. They all ready sold out the waterfront to hi-rise developers, its about time they started supporting the community that already lives here.
Aug. 27, 2010, 10:03 am
MD from Greenpoint says:
I agree with BA, this is absurb. 200 homeless people wandering around the neighborhood? That's not a pleasant picture. There are serious safety concerns and there's no transportation so that will make the situation worse. Plus I have not seen any homeless people in Greenpoint now, why bus 200 in?
Aug. 27, 2010, 10:33 am
VC from Greenpoint says:
Not in my backyard! Not in my backyard!!!
Aug. 27, 2010, 10:53 am
NSSAU&MOGN from Greenpoint says:
Do you guys live in greenpoint?
McGorlich is full of junkie homeless that catcall women and black out on the sidewalk wasted at 11AM. lets move them out of there.

also, check the blotter, crime is rising and its reaching levels that are closing in on Bushwick. its not the homeless, its the poverty stricken that come over and take from what they believe is the wealthy.
Aug. 27, 2010, 12:33 pm
TM from GREENPOINT says:
I live on clay street and have a 3 year old and there are alot of children on the block of all ages, it is not an appropriate location for a homeless shelter. We already have the residents of the SRO hotel at clay and manhattan who loiter in front of the bodegas, wander around drunk and jeer at our kids, please don't put kids at more risk. We accept and deal with the residents of the SRO but to put more in the neighborhood would just be detrimental to them and the children/families here already.
Aug. 27, 2010, 3:41 pm
Beverly from Greenpoint says:
I have a better idea. Where does Maria Cuomo Cole live? Find a place close to HER HOUSE being she is so concerned with 200 prospective crime residents! Then this way she can have easy access hopefully within walking distance of her home so that she can check in on the residents daily and attend to their needs!
Aug. 27, 2010, 9:34 pm
Aneta from Greenpoint says:
This is ridiculous. First they built the biggest sewer plant in Northeast, then they made us collect trash from surrounding neighborhoods, now sheter!

I will do everything in my power to prevent this shelter! Let Ms. Cuomo build a shelter next to her house!!!
Aug. 28, 2010, 2:43 pm
Moshe aron Kestenbaum from Williamsburg ODA says:
Maria Cumon is Andrew Cuomo's sister Like Andrew Cuomo she rides on the backs of New Yorkers and looks down on us people in a vindictive, arrogant, like a real bully with a nasty temper. she and her brother really think that they are above us all
Aug. 29, 2010, 10:10 am
Aneta D. from Greenpoint says:
Please!!! STOP abusing Greenpoint and it's residents. We've got enough!!! Let us breath!!! A homeless shelter in Cuomo's neighborhood sound like a great idea. I'll even donate some money to help her biuld it across from where she lives so she could look at it everyday she wakes up, so she could hear the comments of homeless man when she walks on the streets of her neighborhood, and be approached by the panhandlers.
Aug. 30, 2010, 1:44 pm
Coz from GP says:
Someone should tell Cuomo's daughter that we already have a homeless shelter. Its on the corner of Greenpoint and Manhattan - right in front of the ATM machine, next to The Greenpoint Deli
Aug. 30, 2010, 2:07 pm
jh from greenpoint says:
VC: FAIL.

I get the impression they feel it's simply a convenient dumping ground, and that they won't receive much opposition from the influx of vociferous, predominantly liberal younger people. They are WRONG on both counts. I've been here 9 years, and have many friends who have lived here from anywhere from 1-15. They will be delighted to fight this place.
Aug. 30, 2010, 2:48 pm
Gerry Esposito from Greenpoint/Williamsburg says:
Today, The Chair of C.B. # 1 rec'd the following: "Thank you for your invitation to make a short presentation at the 9/15 meeting of C.B.#1. As you know HELP has submitted a proposal to the NYC Dept.of Homeless services (DHS)in response to their RFP for a project at 400 McGuiness Blvd.DHS has not reviewed or scored this proposal,and therefore at this time it is premature to make a presentation". Ronnie Silverman, V.P. Programs HELP USA tel. 212 400-7032 cell 917-647-2825 DHS contact: Lisa Black Dir. of Gov't Affairs, 212-361-7900 In addition, contrary to the Lies written by Mr.Aaron Short,There was "NO Briefing" given to Gerry Esposito or any other employee of C.B.# 1, GET YOUR INFORMATION STRAIGHT FOR ONCE !
Aug. 30, 2010, 5:20 pm
sa from Greenpoint says:
I would appreciate further information on this subject -- it seems from Mr. Esposito's notes that the NYC DHS put out the RFP -- why would they do that without community notice? I think it's the City we need to protest against. It seems any provider could respond to that RFP, and HELP is much better resourced than most.

Meanwhile, I know many of us deal with homeless street drunks every day (I have them sleeping on my street all summer). It creeps me out (not to mention my children!) So maybe a strong and engaging homeless service provider like HELP might be able to get these people off the street and provide the much- needed services to help us all deal with this population.
Aug. 31, 2010, 1:55 pm
Crista Giuliani from Greenpoint says:
Greenpoint is turning into such a lovely neighborhood filled with children and young families. We already have the oil spill, the trash barges on Newtown Creek, the SRO on Manhattan Ave, and the sewage treatment plant. I am afraid that this will not make our neighborhood and streets more child friendly.
Aug. 31, 2010, 4:37 pm
MFD from Greenpoint says:
As a family friendly neighborhood, I worry about [more] drunk and abusive folks roaming the streets. This should not be in our hood, move it elsewhere. As mentioned above I'm sure Maria Cuomo has some property she's not using...
Aug. 31, 2010, 7:27 pm
Ted Stanke from Greenpoint says:
I live in a building that is connected to the proposed facility. I have lived on this same block for 5 years and love the small-town feeling that Greenpoint has. I love being able to walk around at night without being harassed for money like in most other neighborhoods. We don't have much police presence around here because we haven't needed it, but I'm definitely worried about what an influx of panhandlers will do to my neighborhood. We will definitely need to increase our security.
Aug. 31, 2010, 11:47 pm
dm from greenpoint says:
This is rediculous, just when the neighborhood is starting to revive itself - new stores, new park at the top of manhattan avenue. The whole neighbour from Ash to greenpoint avenue will be affected from the residents of the shelter hanging out at the park to the subway stations.
Is anything being done to campaign against this?
Sept. 1, 2010, 8:34 am
Emily from Greenpoint... McGuinness blvd!!!!! says:
Holy ——. What am i supposed to do now? I have to cross that bridge to get to and from school and work... and i'm a very small girl. I wouldn't be able to defend myself if somebody tried to mug me or rob me...or rape me. I understand that the homeless need help! I love people and always give money and food when i can! But so many homeless people are mentally unstable, (it's an undeniable fact) and it's not going to be safe to leave my apartment anymore.

Greenpoint is such a safe and lovely neighborhood- i moved here because of that! What are the families going to do- the children?? Why doesn't anybody care about them/us?????
Sept. 1, 2010, 1:29 pm
Concerned Neighbor from Greenpoint says:
Write your politicians and let them know your thoughts.

Joe Lentol
http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/?ad=050&sh=contact

Daniel Squadron
http://www.nysenate.gov/contact_form

Nydia Velaquez
http://www.house.gov/velazquez/IMA/issue_subscribe.htm

Stephen Levin
slevin@council.nyc.gov
Sept. 1, 2010, 8:37 pm
KS from Greenpoint says:
i remember 20 years ago when Greenpoint had a huge drug problem.. drugs on the corner street and in the park.. if all goes through i really really hope these homeless people wont add on to any more drama that we already have with all those drunk dums on the corner of Manhattan and Greenpoint...
Sept. 2, 2010, 2:58 pm
GDT from Crown Heights says:
You might be interested to know (altho probably not) that CB 1 which includes Greenpoint and Williamsburg ranks 7th among the 18 community boards in Brooklyn in terms of the number of supportive housing beds per acre, with 630 beds and 3,168 acres. By contrast, Crown Heights North, CB 8, ranks #1 with 1,170 beds and only 1,049 acres. The full set of data can be viewed by clicking the "view the saturation data" at http://revitalizecrownheights.org/index_pg3.htm
Interestingly this very helful information chart was not prepared by the logical city agency such as City Planning, but by a small group of concerned citizens. Why do we have to do all of the work?
Nonetheless, the number of supportive beds per acre seems like a fairly straighforward way of determining which neighorhodds are over stressed and which aren't doing their fair share. Consider for example Bensonhurst/Gravesend, which ranked 18 out of 18, with only 66 supportive housing beds and 2,517 acres. Doesn't seem right, does it.
Sept. 2, 2010, 9:12 pm
Wendy from Greenpoint says:
Thanks GDT. That is VERY helpful information. Looks like about 7 areas would be a better place than ours!
Sept. 3, 2010, 10:23 am
Ray from Greenpoint says:
Please--we've been trying hard to better this place for years. Don't tear it down again.
Sept. 3, 2010, 3:38 pm
Joe from Greenpoint says:
Thanks, CN! Drafting my letters now.
Sept. 3, 2010, 4:27 pm
Riley from Greenpoint says:
I live on Clay Street and just heard about plans for this shelter. I am disturbed that the above article keeps referring to my neighborhood as "sparsely populated" and "industrial," as if the area were a perfect spot for 200 beds. Clay street and the surrounding streets past McGuinness actually are populated by four and five story row houses with all kinds of people of all ages. It is true that the area is surrounded by the sewage treatment plant, and the entrance to the Pulaski bridge, but these are all things that the population just works around.
There are people in the neighborhood that could use a bed, especially in the wintertime (I volunteer at a soup kitchen in Greenpoint). But 200 beds is just too much for my little street to handle. I try not to be a "not in my backyard" person, but it is true that I did specifically move to this street and pay extra for a small and crappy apartment because I feel relatively safe here. I am a tiny girl, and this feeling is very important to me because I have had a lot of trouble in past neighborhoods. I just wonder if Ms. Cuomo and Mr. Bilensky have actually visited my neighborhood or just looked at demographics maps. I feel that if they took some time here, they would see that a shelter of such vast size would lead to trouble for everyone involved. On the other hand, I would be more than willing to accept and to help out at a smaller shelter designed specifically for the Greenpoint homeless--it would surely take the pressure off the underfunded churches.
Sept. 3, 2010, 4:34 pm
CN from Greenpoint says:
There's a Combined Public Hearing and Board Meeting
Wednesday 9/15 at 6:30 PM
Swinging 60's Senior Citizens Center
211 Ainslie Street
(Corner of Manhattan Avenue)
Sept. 3, 2010, 4:52 pm
Jonathan from Greenpoint says:
I guess all the fear mongering and extreme views aren't the exclusive right of fox news... Obviously this proposal raises
concerns for the community especially the size of the proposed shelter but the views expressed
by some residents seems totally inappropiate,irrational and scary...and aren't keeping greenpoint moving forward. I am more scared by these people then homeless people... Who knows these men maybe Iraqi vets, divorced men, or recently unemployed...

See you at the meeting...
Sept. 6, 2010, 3:57 pm
Wendy from Greenpoint says:
They could also be pedophiles, junkies or alcoholics. The problem is that we don't know and their proposal doesn't tell us anything. We have a right to know what sort of persons are going to be our new neighbors.
They also WILL NOT be addressing the existing homeless in the area. There is nothing FOR Greenpoint in have a shelter here. What do we gain but ruining a burdening community and area?
Sept. 7, 2010, 11:27 am
jh from Greenpoint says:
Jonathan, I don't really see any excessive "fear-mongering." From a women's (and children's) safety standpoint alone, this is a terrible idea. I grow tired of supposedly progressive/liberal men dismissing women's issues outright in favor of what they see as "social progress" (some of the most odious misogyny can be found on the Left). Maybe in your next life you will understand what it feels like to be harassed by men of all demographics on a daily basis. I was once attacked by 3 homeless people in broad daylight in another city known for a supersaturation of homeless shelters to residents. Although that particular experience is subjective, perhaps you should consider that the reactions you see above might not be those of unsubstantiated speculation, but first-hand experience (especially from those who have lived here a long time and have witnessed the neighborhood's transformation on a long-term scale). I make no assumptions as to who you are, but perhaps you should at least try to understand what you see playing out from another perspective instead of name calling.

I would not be living in Greenpoint (or NYC for that matter) if I was upset by the presence of homeless people. They are a part of the landscape, and I know that as a woman I have to deal with avoiding unwanted sexual advances from certain men (homeless or otherwise). In the 9 years I've lived in this neighborhood, I've actually encountered more aggressive behavior in the past year for some reason.

Smaller-scale shelters to exclusively help area homeless (men, women and children) would be preferable. We don't need to import any more transients, especially a large group of men. As far as the makeup of proposed shelter residents, the fact that we don't know who they are is precisely the problem. While they could be vets (divorced men??) or recently unemployed, we know nothing about screening for prior records. In fact, they seem to have offered little or no information for GP residents, which reeks of a big tax write-off to me.
Sept. 7, 2010, 2:11 pm
b from greenpoint says:
Commenter NSSAU&MOGN has it right -

Have you readers been to McGolrick park? It's filled with homeless drunks.

Have you taken a walk up Nassau recently? There are bums sitting on stoops.

Have you seen guys passed out in the street near the Nassau G stop? It happens every night.

Have you walked by that triangle at Driggs and Graham? There are often homeless guys passed out there.

There's already a huge homeless problem in the neighborhood and it seems nothing is being done about it. Explain why you're fighting a shelter where these people could actually be getting help, but you're fine with the current state of affairs, which is a drunk homeless guy, peeing on your stoop.
Sept. 7, 2010, 3:41 pm
Lee from Greenpoint says:
@Jonathan:

I live in the building THAT IS ATTACHED to the proposed building that all of these homeless people will be moved in to. WE SHARE A ROOF. And I am a small female. Just imagine, 200 men and 1 small female, living side by side. When I already get harassed by individual men or groups of men when i walk down the street in broad daylight [as most women do in NYC, i think], I think I have the right to fear for my safety.

It's a fear that many men have trouble understanding because like jh said, you don't deal with it EVERY DAY. But just because you don't understand it doesn't mean it is not VALID.
Sept. 7, 2010, 3:42 pm
vic from greenpoint says:
@Jonathan you know what I'm sick of? all these 'liberals' that talk about 'helping the homeless' but now cry 'NOT IN MY BACKYARD!!!'
anyway, have you been to mcgolrick or mccarren or even walked up and down manhattan ave at night.. there are drunks, typically homeless, strung out all over this neighborhood.
as a women who on a daily basis is harassed and I've even been assaulted, walking around the city, I can say I've never been be berated by a homeless man.
in fact I work in a soup kitchen and guess what.. homeless people, even drug addicts are not monsters.
way shocker!

anyway I think it's not a great location just b/c it seems too out of the way.
Sept. 7, 2010, 5:14 pm
Drew from Greenpoint says:
To me the issue is the managing non-profit's track record.

If their established centers are poorly run by hiring incompetent staff. Deny the Proposal. If this can be established, one must further assert that HOPE USA knowingly hired incompetent staff, at a lower rate, whilst charging the city for a competent staffer's rate. If this can be established, they are stealing.

This angle will play much better, than the homeless men are bad one. The homeless have been shat on enough. Community board-members won't respond as well to that argument. It is too emotionally driven to seem rational.

Consider this: You have to see a social worker at an intake center to even be considered for shelter placement.

from NYC.gov-

"All adults entering the shelter system are expected to work with shelter staff to accomplish this goal. Clients will be asked to follow an Independent Living Plan, participate in programs that meet their needs, and follow shelter guidelines that keep clients and staff safe.

Some of DHS’ programs include counseling, case management, employment training, mental health rehabilitation, specialized services for veterans, substance abuse treatment, and various programs for the elderly. Social workers, employment specialists, housing/vocational counselors, and health coordinators work closely with clients in an individualized approach that aims to provide clients with the skills needed to achieve the highest level of self-sufficiency."

I also live very close to this proposed site.

Wouldn't it make more sense to help people that are looking for help. Rather than, just denying needed services, thereby forcing them into illegal trades.

If that's what HOPE USA really plans to do. Are maybe, the folks at HOPE USA just like cashing government checks.

Sept. 8, 2010, 1:15 am
Drew from Greenpoint says:
To me the issue is the managing non-profit's track record.

If their established centers are poorly run by hiring incompetent staff. Deny the Proposal. If this can be established, one must further assert that HOPE USA knowingly hired incompetent staff, at a lower rate, whilst charging the city for a competent staffer's rate. If this can be established, they are stealing.

This angle will play much better, than the homeless men are bad one. The homeless have been shat on enough. Community board-members won't respond as well to that argument. It is too emotionally driven to seem rational.

Consider this: You have to see a social worker at an intake center to even be considered for shelter placement.

from NYC.gov-

"All adults entering the shelter system are expected to work with shelter staff to accomplish this goal. Clients will be asked to follow an Independent Living Plan, participate in programs that meet their needs, and follow shelter guidelines that keep clients and staff safe.

Some of DHS’ programs include counseling, case management, employment training, mental health rehabilitation, specialized services for veterans, substance abuse treatment, and various programs for the elderly. Social workers, employment specialists, housing/vocational counselors, and health coordinators work closely with clients in an individualized approach that aims to provide clients with the skills needed to achieve the highest level of self-sufficiency."

I also live very close to this proposed site.

Wouldn't it make more sense to help people that are looking for help. Rather than, just denying needed services, thereby forcing them into illegal trades.

If that's what HOPE USA really plans to do. Are maybe, the folks at HOPE USA just like cashing government checks.

Sept. 8, 2010, 1:15 am
jh from Greenpoint says:
"I can say I've never been be berated by a homeless man. " That's great for you (though I've had my own safety compromised).

Subjective experiences aside, there is a risk when you suddenly drop 200 transient men with unknown backgrounds into one area. Remember, we don't know if HELP USA plans to treat/serve our existing area homeless, or if they're just importing 200 clients from other areas. In fact, HELP USA has offered absolutely no information. They have also "politely declined" an invitation to address these concerns at the CB1 meeting on the 15th. Some of you keep admonishing us for opposing this because of all the existing homeless in GP, but there are no guarantees the business plan of HELP USA was written with our homeless population in mind. If HELP USA legitimately wanted to be of any help, they would canvass the area and compile a number of homeless in the GP-Williamsburg area and construct a shelter (or smaller ones, definitely preferable) based solely on this number, then serve the area exclusively.

Although I don't believe the safety aspect should be played down, Drew is correct that HELP USA ought to be researched. They haven't exactly received high marks for their management in the past, and their lack of communication with Greenpoint residents for this current project is (to me) indicative on how they probably don't consider demographics or actual community needs before proceeding.

Also, keep in mind they would have to EVICT people from the building to implement this shelter. For a supposedly compassionate organization, this is indeed a strange move.
Sept. 8, 2010, 12:11 pm
anon from GP says:
CN, according to the information I just received from CB01, they have scheduled a Joint Committee meeting on Sep 27th. The agenda consists of a presentation by the NYC Dept of Homeless Services, and HELP USA has been invited (no update on whether they are attending). I assume this will be discussed at October's Public Hearing on the 13th, yes? Regardless, 400 McGuinness doesn't appear to be on the agenda for next week's public hearing:

http://www.cb1brooklyn.org/cb1_cal.htm
Sept. 9, 2010, 4:57 pm
Emily from Greenpoint says:
Hey jh!

Yeah i thought that it was weird that they were making homeless people to help homeless people. And you're totally right about this organizations track record and their sketchy dealings with the residents. It's like they're trying to sneak it in while nobody's looking!

So like, if they do plant these 200 anonymous homeless men here, and especially if they take them from Manhattan or elsewhere and just add them to the number of homeless already in the area [which, actually, i've never seen homeless people around where i live so i don't know what you guys are talking about] then it's going to disrupt the ENTIRE demographic flow of the area!

Do that to any calm neck of the woods and the same thing would happen. And like, if the management is not exactly perfect [and nothing is] then what is going to become of these homeless men? I wonder who they'd be left to turn to or where they would go. Something tells me deep in my gut that they'd end up trapped in the pocket of the area, loitering with nothing to do.

Which, i mean, loitering is okay i guess, it's kinda harmless... but did you know that like 1/4 of homeless people are drug-dependent?? And so many of them are homeless due to mental instabilities... and we residents are just supposed to trust that the shelter is going to fix all of their problems and keep us residents safe from all harm? I don't think that they can guarantee that- or that they even care.

AND MR. CUOMO is running for governor, so it's kinda obvious that if Ms. Cuomo successfully got this homeless shelter going, it would look real good on paper. Of course the reality of most things is spun by the media and people's preconceptions of ideal ideas, so the reality of the situation is going to diverge from the dream.

There's a family with two or so children that lives at the end of the block that the homeless shelter is being built on. At a local deli, the owners' children study for school at the store. Putting 200 anonymous homeless men down the street from them doesn't seem quite right, either.

But of course it seems like a good idea if you're just looking at the statistics and disregard the human aspect of it.
Sept. 9, 2010, 11:43 pm
KB from Greenpoint says:
I've worked in social work and know that this kind of warehousing of humans does very little good, in general, but in particular if there aren't enough services for those individuals in the chosen neighborhood. Access to medical facilities, transportation, and work and food programs is key.

It seems that HELP USA can just get access to this property for cheap and want to make a quick buck by squeezing as many individuals (with their per diems) in a space as possible.
Sept. 10, 2010, 1:43 am
Al from Greenpoint says:
Emily from Greenpoint says: i've never seen homeless people around where i live so i don't know what you guys are talking about.
Are you sure you live in Greenpoint?
YOU CAN'T MISS THE HOMELESS IN THIS AREA! They are all over Manhattan Ave and in all the parks!! Go to McCarren or Mcgolrick park around 8 am and you will be shocked at how many homeless are camping out. If you're really curious, step behind the red brick park office and check out the number of feces piles you find or bottles with urine lying around the park. Its gross.
I don't much care for a badly run homeless shelter in my neighborhood. I don't live close to the proposed sight, but I live close enough to be impacted any fall out that may occur.
why can't HELP come help OUR homeless?
Sept. 10, 2010, 10:49 am
Brian from Greenpoint says:
Any bleeding heart who has moved to these boros at some point in the past 20 years, please refrain stating your subjective thoughts on safety. Those of us who grew up in this city when it was downright scary to walk around, do not welcome the idea of the homeless being moved in. Is that insensitive of us? No, it just rational.

Sure I'll admit, I pass homeless everyday on Manhattan Ave, and I have never had the slightest altercation. Cause you know what? Not all homeless are criminals. Many of them are sadly mentally ill or just down and out. But when you increase the numbers to 200, your chances of one of them being a criminal increases to a level most of us living in Greenpoint are not willing to accept.

So yeah, I'll see you at the meeting, so that way when some poor woman or child is brutally raped by Greenpoint's newest inhabitants, I can at least say I tried to prevent it, while you were too focused on seeming "liberal." And if you think that's fear mongering, do some research into NYC's crime statistics over the past 45 years. We've finally fixed the broken windows in this area... why take a step back?
Sept. 13, 2010, 3:38 am
whocares from Greenpoint says:
I have been living around the Clay St. area for about 15 years and I am dead set against this plan! We have been contending with the "joys" of the proximity to the Greenpoint Hotel for years (years of drugs, violence, murders, fire alarms, police intervention every other day and so on). This has subsided somewhat once stronger measures were taken to control the facility but there has been an increasing hands-off approach that is noticeable. We have had a meth clinic/rehab facility operating here for years (and again forcing us to have to contend with troubled individuals milling about asking for money and cigarettes, etc.) until that closed some years ago. Recently another facility has been opened in its place where young to middle aged (working age I might add!) men idle all day long on the street and the opened parking lot. I, a long time resident, am now TOTALLY scared to walk down this block after being accosted for cigarettes, beings stared at by a bunch of rejects propping up walls, etc. These men have nothing to do and nowhere to go except to hang out on the sidewalk, talk on their cell phones and sit around the benches in the lot provided for their comfort. I cannot believe that yet another shelter is being planned for what used to be a quiet, peaceful and surprisingly low-crime neighborhood despite all that was being thrown at us over the years and not a single thing ever done to bring any comfort or raise the standard of living here. It's outrageous!
Sept. 13, 2010, 8:42 pm
Emily from Greenpoint says:
Al: thanks for the info but I haven't seen any on Manhattan unless I saw them and just didn't realize that they were homeless. And admittedly I haven't visited the parks that early in the morning because I stay away from parks when it's not "rush hour" or whatever because it's not a safe idea to be in areas like that alone [for a girl my size, or anybody I think].

BUT I did talk to the police today about what they thought about the shelter coming in in terms of the crime rate, and while they didn't give me a definite answer, they did say that most of the homeless who are going to move here are going to be convicts who just got out of prison and have nowhere to stay

[which gave me the impression that the shelter wouldn't be making it a priority to serve our local homeless population, as apparently the former prisoners are going to be recommended by their parol officers and the like to get in]

This bit of information makes me even more nervous for a number of reasons related to GP's history... but also because the shelter won't be a permanent residence for its residents, therefore registered sex offenders won't have to register. So there's no way that people can find out if they are living down the street from a child molester...or next to a rapist.
Sept. 14, 2010, 6:09 pm
Concerned Neighbor from Greenpoint says:
"Larry Belinsky, President and CEO of HELP USA, has been invited to the meeting as well, but had not responded as of press time. The meeting, a joint committee meeting of CB 1’s Public Safety and Human Services Committees will be held at the Polish National Home at 261 Driggs Avenue at 6:00PM on September 27th." From the article:

http://www.greenpointnews.com/news/homeless-services-to-address-greenpoint-about-proposed-new-shelter

and here you can read about the going-on's of the Greenpoint Hotel.
The article is called "Cheap Rooms, and 'a Drug for Every Floor'"
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/01/nyregion/01greenpoint.html
Sept. 17, 2010, 8:02 pm
Jonathan from greenpoint says:
My only point was i was shocked by some of the views of local residents... And continue to be... especially as no one knows the full story.

You can argue with me all you like but your statements about rape and the proposed homeless shelter are completely flawed, academically, statistically and philosophically. As well as being utterly distasteful...

Sexual offenses are not associated or do they occur in higher numbers around homeless shelters. Fact not liberalism...if you want the facts check your local sex offenders registry then get back to this blog...

More importantly these arguments will never prevent the building of the homeless shelter in greenpoint. Homeless shelters go up all the time around the 5
boro's and the residents use the same argumenents and have the same exaggerated fears (mostly unfounded) and they still get built

What i think is that we should embrace the proposal and actively participate in its creation and use our community influence/numbers to affect the change we
want. We need large numbers at the meeting as a show of force but should be open to the proposal... I am guessing less numbers and not an all men facility would be preferable to most....

i do believe this is a game changer for the neigbourhood and we should get united and quick... i was reading about how the chelsea community reduced the capacity of a proposed homeless shelter in their district and also didn't williamsburg successfully resist the power station proposal.

we need to act...in numbers on the 27th in a show of force...
Sept. 17, 2010, 10:16 pm
polonus from greenpoint says:
Similar disaster was planned in Elmhurst. Elmhurst community (58th St Association) organised march and rally, invited representatives and they were able to stop proposed shelter!
Ms Maria Coumo (chairwomen of HELP USA contract organisation with 70 mln budget) paid 14 millions for her appartment!
I wonder if there is homeless shelter nearby?
Sept. 21, 2010, 11:18 am
Nate from Greenpoint. says:
I've lived on Clay street for years and it's nice to see new business and young families around. We already have the housing at the gross hotel on Manhattan- it's always having problems.

There are much better locations for the proposed center. If anyone knows of a petition please post information. If not, I'm looking to get one going.

Clay street just isn't the right place for this type of installation...
Sept. 26, 2010, 1:24 am
OLBO from Greenpburnt says:
Hi; I hv lived & worked in Grnpt 4 over 50 yrs, it has always been an a very dirty industrial hood. including a dump @ Monitor & Grnpt ave, an incinerator, a small sewage trtment plant, now a monster (22 acre plant) which has a tunnel fr manhattan trnsporting crap 2 our hood.that's dumping on our hood ? This plants' cost was originally est cost @ 2.1/2 Bill $ ten yrs later , The dirty sky is the limit? I lay blame on the likes of Lentol & his Ilk. His G G Grandfather, G. Grandfather, his Father, Himself & is grooming his sons. He is sitting up in Albany on the dole in the assembly. who accomplish nothing but walk out on each other & collect their $ & percs. We are getting wise 2 Lopez now & we should wise up 2 Lentol & his Ilke ( storm the Bastile & lop off their heads). Levin hasent decided to oppose the Homeless center or not, He is probably looking 2 up the $ ante? These doods smell worse than the sewage plant on my next block. I hv been trying 2 sell my property, if this Homeless shelter goes in, Who wants 2 buy it ? I am 78 yrs old & will probably die first. Please keep these people out! The large Salvation Army shelter across the bridge has closed because they couldn't handle the crime. The Huge Armory on Bedford Ave has closed for the same reason. These people will merge w/ the perps @ the Roach Motel on Manhattan & Case sts . It's the perfect Storm. NO!NO! NO!
Sept. 30, 2010, 6:23 am
jonathan from Greenpoint says:
So i went to the meeting and i am glad i did. The numbers were low considering the initial outcry from the nabe but its a start. We have to organise... CB1 is just advisory and really just mediated the meeting between the residents and the DOH representative. HELPUSA was not there nor was the owner of 400 mcguiness... so it was a mostly long standing greenpointers being very vocal about the Roach hotel, crimie fearsand of course the chronic homeless problem greenpoint has already...

There has to be another public hearing at some point...

However any comparison to the SRO on Manhattan was cast aside by the DOH rep as it is a private enterprize so not a city facility.

I filmed the entire thing on mini DV if anyone wants to put it on website or something.

What struck me was that at the start of the meeting he said the proposal was in the early stages, but by the end he said it could be done by spring next year... 6 MONTHS

we have to act now and come together as a nabe hood, old and new residents. Greenpoint has absolutely taken its fair share of city facilities, waste treatment plant and trash sites... its time to say NO...
Oct. 2, 2010, 2:24 pm
olbo1 from Greenpoint says:
YO Greenpernters! !n my previous complaint deriding the Dynasty of the Lentols, I forgot 2 mention the Exxon or at that time the Esso oil spill. The Lentol's were in Office at that era & looked the other way, 100 yrs later nothing has changed. Exxon is currently scooping up oil in the area & re-selling it ??? All past & current politicos' have blood on their hands. If we allow this Homeless Shelter, we will have more blood on their hands from the convicted felons allowed there. The problem with the political situation is all the power is on the Southside w/ Velasquez, Dilon, Lentol & Levin doing NIMBYA. The Northside has been dumped on for years. The old saying "Don't let them dump on you, open your mouth" prevails to this day.
Oct. 3, 2010, 5:28 am
Hey from Greenpoint says:
AARON SHORT - Can we get an update here?!?!?
Where is the petition? Who can we contact to have our voices heard?
Oct. 5, 2010, 12:42 pm
jonathan from greenpoint says:
there is petition... I dont know who got it together but theres one in "the thing" on manhattan Av...and it goes to CB1

After going to the CB1 meeting. i see it is as the DHS and HELPUSA are now in negoiations, after which they will draw up a contract.that will go to the city through lawyers and budget etc etc. There has to be public hearing at some point but they will probably have it the day after christmas or some other inconvient time... we need to sign this petition and get it to the CB. i rememeber the guy from the DHS george nasark (deputy commisioner of adult services) say the project could be done by mid to late spring...

This is crazy, 200 hundered guys wandering around the nabe after being checked out of the shelter every morning... it just plain impractcial..
Oct. 7, 2010, 10:51 pm
nice from gravesend says:
unreal!!!!you people all need to be ashamed...how do you judge people off of the fact that they are men and in a shelter...so what they built it in Greenpoint...and from what i can remember the neighborhood isnt all that at all....there is a huge womens shelter in Park Slope that has a school right across the street from it and there has never been a problem from them(i live in the neighborhood all of my life)..how could you all get bent out of shape about this...how about going to the shelter and finding out what kind of people that they are accepting(not all shelters accept dope fiends people)they have to go through a screening process first..its so sad that you all are carrying on the way you are....you have no right to judge these men for being homeless...i have one word to describe you all...INHUMANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dec. 31, 2010, 11:28 am
Silence from Greenpoint says:
Yeah the reality is, if you oppose this shelter you are a Republican.

Liberals do not oppose social services such as homeless shelters.

The reality is not as bad as people make it out to be.
- sure there are negative elements. But you need to accept these things for the good of society.

nice is right - you should be ashamed of your fascist ways.
May 18, 2011, 2:18 pm
PAT D from GREENPOINT says:
400 McGuiness now shelters NEWLY RELEASED SEX OFFENDERS.. One is particular has just been released after abusing my grandchildren and spending 11 years in jail. This is what is living in your back yard.
WATCH OUT FOR YOUR CHILDREN.
CHECK OUT NYS SEX OFFENDERS AND YOU WILL SEE THE FACES OF THESE .........
Jan. 4, 2013, 11:35 am
Greenpointer from Greenpoint says:
This is scary. I looked at the offender list, all of them in the 11222 zip code are mostly living at 400 McGuinness / 146 Clay Street and Hotel Greenpoint.

Not only is 400 McGuinness a shelter, Hotel Greenpoint which is a very low rent type of a hotel is also basically a shelter/halfway house. How do we petition their removal? I believe there is a direct coorelation between the spike in crime and this. Someone start a petition or figure out who we should contact.
Feb. 6, 2014, 10:42 pm
Prelate Marx from Greenpoint says:
Well, as new resident at this green point shelter in North Brooklyn, I find the neighborhood to be okay, the industrial zones and the location of the shelter is good. The Local neighborhood is okay and all is well on the East River , In the Polish Dutchy and in the Micro Reich
June 26, 2014, 2:40 pm
colin hayward from McGuiness mens shelter says:
I am currently a shelter resident on Clay street and it is terrible conditions in and outside of this place. The staff doesn't care about our living conditions or health. People coming off the streets in terrible health and most have serious drug additions. This place needs to be investigated..My deepest apology to the beautiful people of GREENPOINT Brooklyn... Oh yeah if it matters I'm an African American male.. Thanks..
Sept. 30, 2014, 12:33 am

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