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Helter shelter! Now McGuinness Blvd building may become a halfway house

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A controversial shelter may be coming to Greenpoint after all — and it may be even worse than the original plan.

A city hotelier bought a McGuinness Boulevard loft building that was previously slated to become a homeless shelter — and his plan is to turn the site into a halfway house for convicted felons, sources said.

New owner Shimmie Horn not only owns luxury boutique hotels in Manhattan, but also several single-room-occupancy lodges in the city and once ran a Florida correctional services business, which operates facilities for formerly incarcerated individuals.

It’s unclear what Horn’s plan is for the McGuinness Boulevard building; a source said that it is unlikely that he would run a shelter there.

HELP USA, which had hoped to run a men’s homeless shelter, withdrew its bid last month amid heavy protests, citing a lack of funding to operate the site properly.

The Department of Homeless Services remains strongly interested in bringing a shelter to the McGuiness Boulevard loft building and helped lure Horn to buy the site for $4 million, sources said.

The building’s tenants were bought out for nearly $600,000, ending a protracted negotiation that lasted almost six months — and clearing the way for a new proposal in the now-vacant building.

Community leaders were livid that the plan may be revived.

“It’s an even bigger problem” than HELP USA’s assessment center and vowed to fight it, said Community Board 1 Public Safety Committee Chairman Mieszko Kalita.

“People [being served] are coming out of federal prison with offenses for murder, drugs — the big stuff,” said Kalita. “They didn’t just steal hubcaps from some car on the street.”

Horn could not be reached for comment before our lockdown deadline.

Updated 4:39 pm, March 9, 2011: This version clarifies Horn's connection to Correctional Services Corporation.
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Reader Feedback

kevin says:
messed up
March 9, 2011, 7:34 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
why is a shelter bad? These folks have served their time. What is the recidivism rate these days anyhoo?
March 9, 2011, 11:32 am
Todd from Greenpoint says:
There are several problems:

1) There is such a thing in this city as Equal Burden. This neighborhood already has a sewage treatment plant, several MTA depots, a DOT depot, several halfway houses, an illegal SRO, a major problem with drunks, etc

2) This particular location is two blocks from residential neighborhoods. You're talking about 200 male ex-cons. In a place where children walk to school and walk around.

3) Past experience with this kind of thing here has taught us that lax supervision/monitoring leads to a heavy degree of loitering, drug use and noise violations

4) The city has done NOTHING to address actual problems with homelessness and alcoholism with our existing community. How about we help the people that actually live here first and then we can think about moving 200 ex-cons into the neighborhood.
March 9, 2011, 12:36 pm
Todd from Greenpoint says:
Oh forgot to mention...Mr. Horn was kind of enough to earn himself 300k worth of fines, the highest in the history of the city for this type of offense, for illegally offering services to various city councilperson, elected officials, etc, including Mario Cuomo, in exchange for contracts to operation corrections services businesses. Sweet!!
March 9, 2011, 12:39 pm
Murry from Crown Heights says:
I don't think Greenpoint is as overloaded on social services as Crown Heights or especially East New York. This seems like a classic case of NIMBY. These people deserve a chance like anyone else. Every neighborhood has a responsibility to take on some of the burden, not just places that haven't been gentrified. Make sure proper security procedures are in place before the program begins, sure, but Greenpoint does not fall under the category of "equal burden".
March 9, 2011, 1:25 pm
GP says:
Oh what a surprise. Another article bashing Greenpoint timed to be published the minute a Greenpoint waterfront development project is pushing forward. You could set your watch to this propaganda. Just one more scare story designed to desperately try to prevent development in the neighborhood. Whether it's the lies about the transportation in Greenpoint or a halfway house, it's all the same thing. It will all come to an end when those who move into the developments realize that the two stop G train ride to the 7 line gets you into Manhattan in less than 20 minutes. The pathetic tactic that Williamsburg and other brooklyn blogs use lying about the G train just shows how desperate they are to keep people away. They all know how much more successful development will be in Greenpoint than it has been in other areas. Anyone can see the train records to see that the G line runs the same as every other line. Facts are facts: the commute to Manhattan from Greenpoint is faster than Park Slope, BOCA, and most other neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens. There are halfway houses opened in Park Slope, that the media seems not to mention.
March 9, 2011, 1:29 pm
Juniper from Greenpoint says:
Hey Joey why don't you lobby to have it in your neighborhood I am sure everyone here in greenpoint would be in favor of that.

We have a homeless problem homegrown that the city wants to ignore. We have already have homeless and drunk men and women all over Greenpoint who's needs aren't being met.

This neighborhood also is teaming with children. Plus we are already over burdened with our fairshare of quality of life issues. Not to mention the location is dangerous because it is too far between train stations.
March 9, 2011, 1:30 pm
RC from from Greenpoint says:
Murry
We do fall under equal burden ...
The largest sewage treatment facility on the east coast is in Greenpoint. There are oil plumes under many homes on the east end of the neighborhood and the Newtown Creek afforadable rent is disappearing, property taxes rising sharply. Soon Greenpoint and Maspeth will be burdened by the recosntruction of the Kosciusko Bridge.

But this is this is not a gov't agency doing this, it's a private for-profit investor that wants to put a shelter here. An investor with no regard for or ties to the community. He will certainly not provide benfits to the area nor will he act responsibly if it means it will cut into his profit.
March 9, 2011, 2:56 pm
Murry from Crown Heights says:
RC, I don't equate sewage treatment plants and bridge construction to social service programs. There are other plants around the city (Harlem), and also toxic waste concerns in places such as Gowanus and Red Hook. These are problems that the neighborhood should be concerned with, most certainly! However, you can't equate putting a homeless shelter, halfway house, drop in center, etc, with these issues. That is not an equal burden. Greenpoint is a neighborhood with few, if any actual shelters. This original project was contracted by DHS, the city agency legally responsible for making sure there are enough shelter beds. Your neighbors are right to complain of a "homegrown" homeless problem and it is understandable to be concerned over neighborhood security (There are many examples successful and securer shelters around the city that you may not know are there). They don't however, seem to want the services or systems in place that would help this population to be put in their back yard. That is not fair.
March 9, 2011, 4:04 pm
fatimah from cobble hill says:
GP, maybe it's time to see a shrink. RC, you can predict the future? Todd from Greenpoint, where is the data to back up your claims? And what is your "past experience?" We are put on this earth to help each other.
March 10, 2011, 6:50 am
truth from gp/wb says:
Looks like Murray from Crown Heights and Fatima from Cobble Hill are just pushing for the facility to be put in Greenpoint to keep it out of their own. If they are so socially minded, perhaps they should be lobbying for locations right in their own backyard.
March 10, 2011, 11:54 am
RC from Greenpoint says:
Murry pointtaken but those problem I mantion are burdens nonetheless. Harlem got a very nice park over their significantly smaller facilty. Newtown Creek is the same type Superfund site as Gowanis spill. They'd complaing too if federal half-way house were to be put there .
Fatimah it's not difficult to predict what private ownership/for-profit ventures will NOT do for the immediate area. S Horn has an established track record of not being on the up an up
March 10, 2011, 4:08 pm
Laura Hofmann from Greenpoint says:
Murray, this IS a matter of equal burden. North Greenpoint is already hosting the Greenpoint Hotel and a halfway house with a unique Polish speaking populaton that the city is not yet addressing. Furthermore, our community not only handles most of the city's wastewater, but we help handles most of the city's solid waste as well. Meanwhile, there is a major underground oil plume and creek cleanup to be dealt with. No other community in NYC or the United States for that matter has this problem.
This isn't a Not In My Back Yard community. This is a WE'VE GOT ENOUGH IN OUR BACK YARD community.
March 15, 2011, 10:12 pm
Laura Hofmann from Greenpoint says:
My apologies I meant to type "unique homeless, Polish speaking population"..
March 15, 2011, 10:14 pm
HELEN R. from EAST ELMHURST NY says:
URGENT!!
ORGANIZE NOW BEFORE ITS TOO LATE! THE SAME THING IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN IN EAST ELMHURST NY!
THE KINGS INN FAMILY CENTER LOCATED AT 8702 23 AVE EAST ELMHURST WHICH HOUSES SINGLE WOMEN AND CHILDREN IS ABOUT TO BE CONVERTED TO A SINGLE MEN SHELTER AND ALL THE CHILDREN THERE WILL BE DISPLACED AND DISPERSED ALL OVER THE CITY, WITHOUT REGARD TO THEIR WELL BEING!! THIS WILL BE DONE TO HOUSE EX-CONS, REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS, VIOLENT CRIMINALS, PEDOPHILES, AND GOD KNOWS WHO....
"THANKS" TO DEPT OF HOMELESS SERVICES (DHS) THE COMMUNITY OF EAST ELMHURST HAS NOT BEEN NOTIFIED, JUST LIKE THEY DID NOT NOTIFY ANYONE AT THE SKYWAY NEIGHBORHOOD!!
THE EXACT SAME THING WILL HAPPEN IN EAST ELMHURST, IF THIS IS ALLOWED TO HAPPEN, AND THE QUIET NEEDY WOMEN AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN OF THE KINGS INN FAMILY SHELTER ARE REMOVED, EX-CONS AND POTENTIAL RE-OFFENDERS ARE ALLOWED TO MOVE IN INTO THIS NEIGHBORHOOD.
PLEASE STOP THIS BEFORE ITS TOO LATE!! MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!!! TELL THE BLOOMBERG ADMIN YOU WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS!!!
SPEAK TO YOUR NEIGHBORS!! ORGANIZE AND DO WHATEVER YOU CAN TO KEEP THIS NICE NEIGHBORHOOD CLEAN AND CRIME FREE!!!
PLEASE CONTACT
COMMUNITY BOARD 3- EAST ELMHURST NY
82-11 37 AVE
TEL # 718-458-2707 FAX 718-458-3316
CONTACT GRACE LAWRENCE AND GIOVANNA REID, DIST MGR
EMAIL: COMMUNITYBOARD3@NYC.RR.COM

SENATOR JOSE PERALTA, DISTRICT 13
3237 JUNCTION BLVD
EAST ELMHURST NY
TEL: 718-205-3881 FAX 718-205-4145

CALL 311 AND ASK FOR THE NEW CITIZEN SERVICE CENTER TO FILE COMPLAINT MAKE SURE YOU GET AN INCIDENT REPORT # AND GIVE IT TO COMMUNITY BOARD 3

DANIEL DROMM, DISTRICT 25 COUNCIL MEMBER
3732 75 ST
JACKSON HEIGHTS NY
TEL # 718-803-6373 FAX # 718-803-9832

PUBLIC ADVOCATE BILL DE BLASIO
1 CENTRE ST
NY NY
TEL # 212-669-7200 OR 212-669-7250 FAX 212-669-4701
EMAIL ADDRESS: PUBLICADVOCATE.NYC.GOV/CONTACT-US
OR
SARAH FIGUEREO, DEPUTY DIRECTOR
EMAIL ADDRESS SFIGUEREO@PUBLICADVOCATE.NYC.GOV

DOMENICK RAFTER, REPORTER
DRAFTER@
Dec. 1, 2011, 2:49 am

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