HELP USA’s Brownsville center is not popular with locals

The Brooklyn Paper
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HELP USA wants to house the homeless, but opponents say that it’s anything but a good neighbor.

The non-profit organization, which proposes a 200-bed shelter in Greenpoint, already runs a “transitional housing” facility in Brownsville that is unpopular with the locals.

“The women prostitute every night,” said Adele Garcia, who lives near the HELP Women’s Center on Saratoga Avenue in Brownsville. “The police are constantly here. All it does is bring down the neighborhood. That shelter’s got to go.”

Neighborhood businessmen, such as Jeff Laino, general manager for Watkins Poultry Merchants, point to the building’s “constant issues” that has attracted ambulances and even the police.

“The women are sometimes out on the street soliciting themselves,” said Laino. “In terms of the women interacting with people, there’s none of that. But if you drive around the neighborhood, you can see them wandering around.”

Located in an industrial section surrounded by masonry and metal workshops, the shelter provides services for victims of substance abuse, domestic violence or unemployment in a 66-bed dormitory.

“It’s no good for the neighborhood,” said Manny Gomez, who lives one block down the street. “They hang around all night and smoke.”

Others are more charitable in support of the center. Edgar Diaz, who lives one block away, says the shelter’s residents “don’t bother anybody” and that he hasn’t noticed the prostitution problems.

“We really don’t see it,” said Diaz. “Maybe at 3 or 4 in the morning. The cops come quick. A lot of time the cops think they’re [the women] prostituting cause they can’t get in [to the center].”

Diaz believes that a shelter by HELP USA in Greenpoint would be a good thing for that community, but Garcia disagrees.

“I wouldn’t recommend it,” said Garcia.

HELP USA officials declined to comment.

— with Joe Anuta

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Reader Feedback

whitechick29 from gramecy park says:
do your thing girl. i grew up with some money and around those uppity tight azzes. their men need the 'plussy'. keep it hot, clean, and protected. sale on, sale on.
Aug. 27, 2010, 11:27 am
gene from WB says:
Why doesn't the city put a shelter where the mayor's mother lives?
Aug. 27, 2010, 3:51 pm
Matt from Greenpoint says:
And that's only 66 beds. What's going to happen when they put 200 new homeless people in GP? Not to mention they are men....OMG isn't anybody using their brain here????
Sept. 3, 2010, 4:32 pm
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Sept. 4, 2010, 2:05 am
twobears from Brownsville says:
I stay at the Greenpoint Shelter years ago. If you can make a working client shelter it would be a benefit to the neighborhood and client in the shelter. It would need social workers, job placement and money saving incentive's. This way the client can move out and get there own place and become a productive member of the community. Just a thought!!!!
Sept. 8, 2010, 12:56 pm
Natalie from Clinton Hill says:
Hopefully if they put that shelter in Greenpoint, they'll have learned from their mistakes at this one. It's worrisome to think that an organization who seems to poorly manage a small shelter plans to try and manage an even bigger one!
Sept. 9, 2010, 11:23 pm
Liz from GP says:

I was wondering for research, what were the people like at the shelter you stayed at? The police said that most of the homeless people going into the GP shelter are going to be ex-cons...
Sept. 14, 2010, 6:38 pm

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