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Greenpoint residents blast church for opening homeless shelter

The Brooklyn Paper
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A new homeless shelter is making a mess of Greenpoint, claim a handful of angry residents wary of their new neighbors and upset with the church that’s offering destitute men a place to spend the night.

Frustrated neighbors of Milton Street’s Greenpoint Reformed Church claim they are now dealing with late-night lewd comments and sidewalk land mines of urine, feces, and vomit due to the 10-bed shelter, which opened quietly in November.

“I can take care of myself, but there are young girls around here,” said Don Stella, who lives a few doors down from the church. “There are catcalls. Someone defecated outside of the church.”

Part of the outrage is due to the fact that Greenpoint dwellers didn’t know about the shelter, which is operated by the city and open nightly from 9 pm to 6 am, until it debuted in their community.

“There’s no good neighbor courtesy,” said Greenpoint resident Teresa Toro. “We feel like our good will is being taken for granted.”

Pastor Ann Kansfield said she didn’t approach her neighbors first to inform them about the facility because the deal happened quickly after the Church of the Ascension, which had been planning to open the shelter in its Kent Street building, suddenly backed out in November.

“By the time we were approached, winter was settling in and we thought it would be better for people to not die,” said Kansfield, who added that the church is simply following its mission of helping those in need by housing the homeless.

But it’s not loving thy neighbors, claim critics who accuse the house of worship of hosting the shelter solely to get cash from the city.

Kansfield says her church will only receive $12,000 annually in the arrangement, part of which will go to her $24,000 salary. The rest of the city’s $100,000 shelter budget will go to building upkeep, shelter employees’ salaries, and utilities, she said.

Since its debut on Nov. 19, 10 homeless individuals who frequently stayed outdoors in Greenpoint have taken shelter in the refuge, according to the Department of Homeless Services.

“Men who may have slept in parks or on benches are putting their heads down on beds, and that is always the end goal for us,” said agency spokeswoman Heather Janik.

Workers with Common Grounds, a group tasked by the city to run the shelter, make sure that no one loiters outside the church, Janik said.

But shelter opponents say the street has taken a turn for the worse ever since the Greenpoint Reformed Church began running a soup kitchen and food pantry several years ago.

“The pantry line goes down the block. One day, I tried to walk into my house and some guy pushed me and said ‘Get in f------ line,’ ” said Stella. “I’m not against the homeless having someplace to go, but not like this.”

Kansfield said she was reluctant to attribute all of the bad behavior on Milton Street to the men in the shelter, and encouraged neighbors to call the police if they encounter problems.

And some Greenpoint residents are big supporters of the shelter, saying it is society’s responsibility to assist those who need it most.

“A shelter is needed in all New York City neighborho­ods,” said Brett White, who lives on Manhattan Avenue. “I want homeless people to be taken care of. Maybe there will be an increase in panhandling, but is that really a big deal?”

This isn’t the first time a Greenpoint homeless shelter has taken heat: neighbors battled to stop a much-larger 200-bed shelter that opened on McGuinness Boulevard last summer.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

Updated 12:44 pm, January 18, 2013: Story updated to include new information from the Department of Homeless Services.
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Reader Feedback

Fingeling Van Gina from Hootersberry Park, NJ says:
Homeless - Go Home!
Jan. 17, 2013, 6:21 am
diehipster from anti-hipster zone says:
'Brett White', the transient part-time humanitarian/urban explorer approves! Like, yah!
Jan. 17, 2013, 6:41 am
o3 from bk says:
why not place a porta potty behind the church using available shelter monies?
Jan. 17, 2013, 8:27 am
jjm from everywhere says:
This is what happens when you lack affordable housing so deal with it. Im honestly in favor of anything that get the yuppies' panties in a bunch. The old nyc is slowly coming back yall, hipsters & yuppies beware........
Jan. 17, 2013, 8:53 am
jjm from everywhere says:
This is what happens when you lack affordable housing so deal with it. Im honestly in favor of anything that gets the yuppies' panties in a bunch. The old nyc is slowly coming back, hipsters & yuppies beware.....
Jan. 17, 2013, 8:57 am
manhatposeur from brokeland says:
hey diehipster I bet its the Poles who live there are the ones complaining. A t least urbanjumberjack man will be like "whatever dude!"
Jan. 17, 2013, 9:12 am
diehipster from Real Brooklyn says:
Manhatposeur :

I would probably complain too as this seems like a weird part of a neighborhood to put a homeless shelter. My point was that 'Brett' pretends to care but in reality knows he is only passing through Brooklyn and this problem is ultimately not his. He will soon be in the next cool city or back home in Culdesacia, MN. And you of all people should know this process.

THE POWER OF DIEHIPSTER COMPELS YOU.
Jan. 17, 2013, 9:44 am
newtothehood from Greenpoint says:
wow, these local papers are known for inventing "quotes" but this is ridiculous, Brooklyn Paper manufactures fiction and calls it homework. Your staff is too lazy to approach accuracy. Danielle, You realize this is a real place right? and not just something you pass on your way to the next cranberry vodka?
Jan. 17, 2013, 11:44 am
Tacos from Greenpoint says:
I hate it when church's try and help people!
Jan. 17, 2013, 11:57 am
Homey from Crooklyn says:
Wow, Bev, masterful trolling! I am in awe. Bwahahaha
Jan. 17, 2013, 12:08 pm
Milton from Greenpoint says:
I can understand that this might have been an emergency situation so no one was told but 3 months have gone by since the shelter opened and there has still been very little information given. Is that the right way to treat ones neighbors?
Jan. 17, 2013, 12:10 pm
Kate from Greenpoint says:
Providing access to food and shelter helps people be better neighbors. Everyone in Greenpoint can see that we have a local street population, and every year there are several deaths. Greenpoint Reformed continually meets the needs of people in their own backyard, in a time when most prefer to push these issues out of sight. I am proud of them.

I hope those neighbors who are opposed might participate in any of their programs once to see what really happens there. I completely understand their concerns, but they can work with the church to limit impacts on the block.
Jan. 17, 2013, 12:13 pm
Teresa from Greenpoint says:
A lot of Milton Street residents personally volunteer and give money to the church for its programs. (Me included.) But at this point everyone's tired of seeing new programs and situations happen without a heads up. This isn't a NIMBY issue. It's a bad-communications issue.

Kate's comment that we can "work with the church" is exactly what residents are asking for, but in reality the church is not working with us.
Jan. 17, 2013, 12:21 pm
Billy from north brooklyn says:
I love all the hipster morons who are stating its the polish people who are complaining , morons take a look around you there are no more polish people in Greenpoint they only come to shop they were pushed out by they hipsters who pay 3000 for a railroad apartment whos the stupid one now. before commenting take a good look at Milton Street not many Polish people left what a bunch of un educated hipsters,
Jan. 17, 2013, 2:06 pm
Estelle from Brooklyn says:
“By the time we were approached, winter was settling in and we thought it would be better for people to not die,” said Kansfield
High and mighty much? The typical, newer Greenpoint democrat will agree that not only is it fair to redistribute the wealth, but the redistribution of the filth is necessary. Political and religious leaders know what's best for their community, right? God forbid protecting the few really gorgeous blocks in Greenpoint from homeless people ——ting and puking in public. That wouldn't be "democratic". The proponents are spouting off their cries of disgust at the hypocrisy of the ignorant Nimby. A few of the seven deadly sins indulge their argument for this particular location for a shelter. The biggest one being envy. Bright green envy. So while their rathfull ire is directed at a handful of what many may call "yuppies"; the collateral damage is that many Italian and Polish folks that have been on these blocks for decades, if not generations suffer the consequences too.
Maybe this is a Vito revenge play. Lay down with dogs, and get up with fleas. (or bedbugs in this case)
Jan. 17, 2013, 2:22 pm
Z from Greenpoint says:
umm greenpoint is full of homeless people whether theres a shelter on that block or not... better they have somewhere to sleep

and homeless people piss and sh** on blocks without shelters too
Jan. 17, 2013, 4:06 pm
JR from Northside says:
"Pastor Ann Kansfield said she didn’t approach her neighbors first to inform them about the facility because the deal happened quickly after the Church of the Ascension, which had been planning to open the shelter in its Kent Street building, suddenly backed out in November."

And what is the reason why Kansfield did not approach her Neighbors in December or January?
Jan. 17, 2013, 6 pm
phil from williamsburg says:
Hurrycane sandy
Jan. 17, 2013, 6:40 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
What is the big deal with having a homeless shelter? If they want have it there, I don't see what is the problem. I am so tired of those hipsters and yuppies being so mad about one in their neighborhood. May I please ask where should it go if not where it is right now? Also, there is no problem if this is within the church's own property.
Jan. 17, 2013, 7:28 pm
Betsy from Greenpoint says:
If somebody wanted to put a shelter on your otherwise pretty street, you wouldn't feel that you should at least get to be a part of the discussions beforehand and what not? Even if those talks were just token bs , they should have been had. That is what this is about as much as anything. Communication is an integral part of the democratic process. I am NOT a yuppy. I work hard to pay my rent. Can't say that's true for most of the aging hipsters that ARE actually supporting this. They want to spread the misery far and wide instead of kepping it on streets that are already messed up which are many.
Jan. 17, 2013, 7:53 pm
gil/point from greenpoint says:
why not care for the homeless.Never know you or family member can be homeless,jobless...............
Jan. 18, 2013, 10:08 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
One day, any of you could go homeless especially because of how high the property tax has been going. How would any of you feel if no shelter was allowed for you? My guess is that you wouldn't feel the same. Just because a homeless shelter or affordable housing is placed in a rich neighborhood, it doesn't make it go blighted. That just sounds like elitism to me. As long as the church is placing them within their own property, there isn't a problem with that and there are many who renovate on their own property all the time, but I guess when it's for caring, it's a crime.
Jan. 18, 2013, 3:24 pm
Billy from Brooklyn says:
Ted from Pleasntville before you make assumptions get the whole story you know the old storywhen you assume you make an ass out of you and me the people on MILTON STREET have the following to deal with ,
SAT AA MEETINGS AND OTHER GROUPS DURING THE WEEK homeless shelter , soup kitchens , concerts , oh let me mention 4 blocks away is a homeless shelter which houses 200 more , but then again you live on a very quiet block nice tree lined , oh by the way can you pass me the address of the homeless shelter on your block or better yet in your neighborhood i will be more then happy to donate .
Jan. 18, 2013, 5:40 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First of all, get my name right, Tilly. Where should the church place the homeless shelter if not where they plan it? I am not hearing a lot of alternative sites here. Nobody will argue with what some of them are doing on the street, but blame the individual and not the group as a whole. How would anyone like it if I accused all hipsters of what they did just because of one or a few? I am sure that nobody will like that, so now you know how others feel. Until I hear some good alternative places, it should go where it's to be planned. I take it being a populists and caring for the poor is a crime these days.
Jan. 18, 2013, 6:09 pm
Billy from Brooklyn says:
Tilly ok first you havn;t answered my question , you ask where why not your neighborhood or block, have you ever been to Milton street if yes then you would have seen that this a family block with 6 and 7 year olds who witness homeless men holding there penis in front of them urinating on there stairs as they come home from school waking up tothem sleeping on there stairs and threatening them , second she hired an ex convict who spent 14 years on rikers island which means he did hard time , the next time you come to milton street let me know but if you have a child bring himor her along so they can witness what the other children are witnessing , lets not forget are these convicts , pedophiles , who knows , AGAIN YOU ASK WHERE ITS JUST 10 BEDS MAYBE YOU CAN OPEN YOUR HOME OR BASEMENT TO THEM, OH YES TILLY PLEASE GIVE ME THAT ADDRESS OF THE HOMELESS SHELTER IN YOUR AREA . But afain you live in pleasantville must mean its very pleasant.
Jan. 18, 2013, 7:08 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
As much as you hate the homeless, a shelter for them as to go somewhere. The real blame should be on the supervision of whoever is in charge of it, not the idea of the homeless shelter itself. I couldn't care where it goes as long as there is a place for them. I take it some only like it when it's not where they live. If find it an irony that some will act as NIMBYs when it comes to something such as homeless shelters or affordable housing, but don't mind a number of luxury development that has been going especially many in just Greenpoint alone within the last decade. I don't think all homeless people are bad, and profiling doesn't do you any good.. For the record, I have been to Greenpoint not that long ago, so I know what it's like over there.
Jan. 18, 2013, 8:33 pm
Billy from Brooklyn says:
Tilly,
Again you have not answered one question I put to you , You live it a very small world I see . And again do not put words in my mouth or like you would say get it straight I never said I hate the homeless as you state dont just visit and assume about Greenpoint just like I will visit Pleasantville and make assumptions about your neighborhood until I LIVE THERE , Really visiting for an afternoon made you an expert on greenpoint ,
Jan. 18, 2013, 8:56 pm
Billy from Brooklyn says:
First of all I never stated I hated the homeless second you visit and now you know the neighborhood for an afternoon . Third you did not answer one question . You live in a very small world , but again Pleasantville is a small place what a waste of time.
Jan. 18, 2013, 9:02 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First off, don't insult a person on where they live, because I find that a real hit below the belt. Nevertheless, I did answer your question. From what I have read in that article, the current homeless shelter is actually on the church's property. Therefore, they should be allowed to have it. Why is it a problem for that church to have a homeless shelter despite being on their own property? It's not as if they are doing it somewhere else, because that is different. Just think about when Daniel Goldstien, who was unfairly kicked out of his place where the Barclays Center now is and was just trying to use the maximum height for his now home over in Park Slope. He didn't need any approval as long as it was about that height, and the same goes for anyone else who is doing that except if it's land marked. Unless there are zoning laws on the church for placing a homeless shelter in their own property, they have done nothing wrong nor against the law in that matter. On a side note, I find it ironic that you say I am wasting your time even though you are still giving me the time of day. You can always stop responding to me, because it's not as if you're being forced to.
Jan. 19, 2013, 5:22 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
tal is right
Jan. 19, 2013, 5:25 pm
BILLY from BROOKLYN says:
Tilly,
Your right no more responses your a waste of time.
Jan. 19, 2013, 8:37 pm
jack from brooklyn heights says:
Billy you are 100 persent right all these people that support these programs and are going to save the world have no clue until it comes to there neighborhood
But then when these homeless ex cons or drug addicts commit a serious crime there no where to be found . yell yell yell for a second chance but when the —— hits the fan there no where to be found , I support you 100 percent for sticking up for your neighborhood how strange that the comments are coming from people who have no homeless shelters in there area .
Jan. 19, 2013, 8:52 pm
Justin from Greenpoint says:
Billy you are 100 percent right , Tal get your facts right they did break the law if you do your homework you would have found that addind a homeless shelter in a residential neighborhood you first have to have a public forum to get an response and feedback the deal was done in secret as not to have any protests . Second you state its on church grounds which according to you they can do what they want wrong the pastor has to get the approval of the reformed church which she did not , third according to the head of community board 1 there was no public forum or debate or feedback or mailings that this was going to happen and that is against the LAW. The pastor at the church tried to cover it up as not to have public backlash . She is also getting a great amount of money which she states are for expenses , but take a good look she also states its for her salary , last I remember she stated in every blog and newspaper that she is doing gods work and a Salary last I heard priests do not get paid to do gods work at least not in my church.
Jan. 20, 2013, 10:14 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Justin, there are many others who go behind community boards as well. Bloomberg has a history of that, but I take it you don't care about that. It wasn't as if he asked for approval on a bike share program. Also, I guess when Ratner wanted his arena, you were okay with him sidestepping ULURP in order to get special zoning laws from SEQRA to allow for it. I am smelling a double standard here especially if you have no problems with how those got through but oppose a homeless shelter. Still, I would like to hear an alternative site for the homeless shelter, which nobody here who opposes it seems to be giving. My guess is that you will only support as long as it's not near you.
Jan. 20, 2013, 12:32 pm
M F from Greenpoint says:
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/brooklyn/church_shelter_ho_war_yDFyiwD50M7wbX3mkoa4UK
Jan. 20, 2013, 2:13 pm
Molly from Greenpoint says:

"Pastor Ann Kansfield said she didn’t notify residents about the shelter because the church quickly filled in for another congregation that had canceled a proposed shelter at the last minute."

I live on Java Street where the shelter was supposed to be. Nobody told me it was going to be here, last minute or not. I just heard about it because the Java Street church had a party celebrating the new shelter on Milton Street. It is very obvious this was a secret to all of Greenpoint. Maybe I can understand why they kept it a secret but it is still wrong for politicians and clergy to act this way and then have a party but not invite the whole neighborhood. SHAME ON THEM!
Jan. 20, 2013, 2:33 pm
Teresa from Greenpoint says:
You said it Molly.

Sad to see in the Gazette that the only people in the picture and in the article quotes were those who threw the holiday party. This is all about feel good stuff, Councilman Levin's got a reelection campaign to work on.
Jan. 20, 2013, 3:55 pm
M F from Greenpoint says:
http://www.greenpointnews.com/news/5156/greenpoint-celebrates-christmas-with-the-homeless
Jan. 20, 2013, 4:43 pm
Justin from Greenpoint says:
Tal,
Im sorry all you are doing is coming up with excuses here , yes first every church said no to this plan , Why , because there is a 200 homeless shelter 4 blocks away , we have 20 blocks of vacant land on the water front but that is big money no body wants to put it there. Y ou make no sense when you come with this arena argument , compare an arena to a homeles shelter which houses drug addicts , ex cons , and who knows what to arena is a weak argument , you stated the church can do what they please because its there property and land , NO IT DOES NOT , a church is suppose to be there to be a pilliar of community support not divide the commuinity , if you at the other church is that they put it to the congregation and the feed back was NO , your argument is that Bloomberg side steped , ok so what your saying is 2 wrongs make a right , And the fact is they broke THE LAW , clear and simple it stated by city community board 1 came out and said they Broke the law , your theory when it comes to comparing a arena to an homeless shelter is very weak. Second I an assuming that you do not have children excuse me if Im wrong , but let me put this theory out there if you had a neighbor move in next door to you who lust spent 4 years at rikers for a very hard crime and 9 others who were moving in and were pediphiles , muggers , hard crimminals I really do not think thgat you would be happy especially if you had 15 yo 20 children on the block , I doubt you would be yelling second chance , but again stop wuth the arena argument it is totally weak , and the bottom line is they broke the law , and for you to say oh that they do it all in secret its ok , well then if everybody is jumping off the tappan zee bridge I guess its ok for everybody to go and do it . And for you to sit there and say to Billy do not judge my town is very hypacritical of you since thats all you have done about his , I hope I have not offended you if I did Im sorry .
Jan. 21, 2013, 5:56 pm
John from Williamsburg says:
$150 per man, per night x 10 men with the current DHS budget allocated for this at $100,000.00
I could find 3 apartments for them to share on that budget. Both Mertz and Kansfield's behavior is appalling. The cadre of "supporters" the have squired are hypocrites. If something like this happened to them, where they were kept in the dark about a shelter going next door to them, there would be hell to pay. M & K keep trying to reframe the controversy as a people versus the homeless scenario, when it is really about the lack of open process and communication. That is a low and deceitful way to get what they want. It is their own entitlement, pride, and privilege (in the name of charity) rearing its ugly head. It is an embarrassment to the church and to their standing as community pillars to have managed things this way. Their inability to accept any responsibility is laughable at this point. Levin really screwed the pooch too. No big surprise there.
Jan. 21, 2013, 6:10 pm
Justin from Greenpoint says:
Tal,
One more point Steve Levin was elected by the majority of the people in Greenpoint they have all spoken to him the churches and citzens most have expressed them selves he as an elected official and the democratic process is that you are there to represent those people its there money he is using and they are the ones paying him . Its not for him to say its my way or the highway as he has stated , the last time I saw that process it was called COMMUNIST SOVIET UNION, and now that all of this is beginning to as they say —— hitting the fan he is concerned , WHY because its an election year coming up , WOW wouldn;t the guy who is going to run against him must be loving this brcause his last election was pretty close fromwhat I understand , Tal the bottom line is he was put there to listen to the people who elected him and he not doing that, Once again do not take this as an personal attack but as an open debate , god bleesss this country that we are able to have these open decussions
Jan. 21, 2013, 6:15 pm
Justin from Greenpoint says:
John WOW wel said I hope you attend the meeting , Steve Levin is out of the Vito Lopez camp , Total corruption just pay off everybody as he did with the 100.000 tax payers money silver gave to to keep those ladies quiet from filing law suits against but this is the guy that schooled Steve Levin
Jan. 21, 2013, 6:21 pm
Jay from Brooklyn Heights says:
Billy Justin do not respond to this woman Tal, reading her comments she just does not have a clue , you ever been to pleasantville if yes then you know not to respond her comment below the belt , well I have news for you Tal you are from Pleasantviulle mind your own buissiness , its there neighborhood not yours remember its called the Brooklyn Paper for a reason BROOKLYN not Pleasantville . You have not lived there , oh yes you visited as you stated so now you are an expert in these people affairs or maybe you are a friend of the pastors , stop get involved in your own backyard not others ,here in Brooklyn its called being rude and nosey.
Jan. 21, 2013, 9:12 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First off, I am a man, NOT a woman, and I would like Jay to apologize for getting my gender wrong. Then again, he probably did it on purpose to insult me just like a number of other fanatics do rather than having a real debate, which I find to be a real low even for him. To answer Justin, it seems that despite using the existing homeless shelter, there seems to be opposition to that as well. Again, where should it go, because it doesn't seem as if anyone wants it to go anywhere? I don't see why that vacant land can't have it, but nobody seems to be against luxury development, which will eventually price everyone who is living there, which will make all of you homeless just for not being able to afford to live there anymore. BTW, where you when Ratner sidestepped ULURP to get his arena built against the many who didn't want it? That does sound hypocritical if I hear that you were for that, but are against a homeless shelter. However, it wouldn't surprise me, because I guess it's better a private business be allowed to get whatever they want rather than something that actually serves the public otherwise it would be a communist takeover. For the record, I don't represent the church in any way or form especially since I happen to be Jewish. On a side note, the internet isn't private, and I didn't hear that locals only can be here, and the same implies for being on the NY Times, which has people from all over the world comment on articles even from those that don't live there.
Jan. 21, 2013, 11:33 pm
schaz from Greenpoit says:
Apparently, good ole Scrooge is alive and well in parts of good ole Greenpoint. But -unfortunately- it seems that he skipped part of “A Christmas Carol”; He left out the good part: where the three spirits of Christmas -past, present, and future- come to visit him; where they redeem him, where they transform him. That’s too bad. For some of the cold hearted neighbors of the Greenpoint Reformed Church, living in their warm homes, shout out to us in fear and anger:“Bah Humbug! Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses? Are they hungry? Are they homeless? It’s not my problem! It’s their fault! Let them die, and decrease the surplus population! But ...NOT in my back yard!”
However, the REAL story is this: the ten homeless people seeking shelter every night in the Greenpoint Reformed Church are not strangers. They are not some kind of half-human monsters. They are people from our community. People who have lost their way. People who desperately need our help, and our understanding. If they were not in the shelter of the church on these bitterly cold, windswept winter nights, then they would be living ---and dying--- on our street corners, and our parks, as has happened repeatedly in the past. How callous some of us have become. There but for fortune, my friends... But at least now these ten people, within the sanctuary of the church, may have a chance to alter their lives for the better. I applaud -and I am proud of - the efforts of Reverend Kansfield in trying to carry out and bring to life the words of Christ, who said: “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me”.
I have lived on Milton Street for over 35 years, and the Church has been there far far longer. The Greenpoint Reformed Church has the absolute right -AND THE DUTY- to open its doors and minister to its community - whether they be marginalized, or poor, or troubled, or hungry, or homeless, or in need ....or not. Perhaps some might prefer only mink-coated, bejeweled congregants to be walking down Milton Street. But the mission of the church is to bring the word of Christ to ALL of the community - both rich and poor; and not just mere words, but deeds as well. There may be tension at times, of course,  but that is part of living near (or buying property near) a PUBLIC institution!
Neighbors, if you really want to complain, THEN I respectfully suggest that you complain about the seemingly unchecked proliferation of establishments that serve or sell alcohol in our neighborhood. Within the last few years more than a dozen bars have opened within two or three blocks of Milton Street. Yes neighbors - please DO complain -about some of THEIR customers, ...those who come down our block, make a mess, vomit, urinate, and cause a ruckus when inebriated. Complain dear neighbors ...yes, please complain...about THESE places - that all too often serve as as seductive pathways to “legal” addictions, and to eventual homelessness for some. Complain to your elected officials, ...and complain LOUDLY... as to WHY they have allowed such a concentration of bars in our neighborhood. Neighbors should also complain .....to the OTHER churches, synagogues, and mosques in our diverse community: Tell them to also step up and do THEIR part, with regard to these social problems. And we should ALL complain, about an economic and social system that makes such measures as church soup kitchens, food pantries, and homeless shelters NECESSARY; complain about a way of life and “values” where people are simply ...disposable, whether at work, or on the street; complain about a society where the only gods we truly seem to worship are money, greed, & property values - above all else.
Neighbors, please, LIVE your faith and your humanity--NOT your prejudices and your pocketbooks and your fears. But don’t live your faith with mere words or sermons or prayers. And not only on your respective days of worship. Do it by truly supporting good works and deeds, such as the church is trying to sustain and provide. The church is working on problems created and fostered by other forces - forces in the community, and in the society, and in a bad economy. Obviously, the Greenpoint Reformed Church is not the source of these problems. Instead, it is trying its best to be part of the cure. Love thy neighbor? Yes--- ESPECIALLY- - if they are poor, hungry or homeless. THAT.... is the true meaning of “community”.
These people need our healing and our help - not our harsh words of hatred and harassment. If YOU were in their tattered shoes; if YOU lived their shattered lives, then YOU would hope and pray and plead for compassion and understanding; YOU would hope and pray and plead that when YOU fell, people would help to lift you up - instead of kicking you further and further down. Neighbors, whatever religion you embrace - or don’t embrace - please listen to the “better angels within you”: Try to work WITH the Greenpoint Reformed Church to make things better ...not against it. If we are anything at all - we are ALL God’s children. Please, do the right thing. For what kind of society, what kind of community, and what kind of people are we - IF we close our eyes, IF we turn away, and IF we let people die on our street corners, in our parks..and.. in our hearts? IF we let that happen, then ask not for whom the bell tolls, dear neighbors. It tolls for thee....
Jan. 22, 2013, 2:54 am
Rolf from Milton Street says:
It's easy to throw around the term NIMBY these days. The neighbors I know on Milton Street have been very supportive of the church's many programs over the years. Their programing has grown enormously which is to the church's credit and hard work. Even Pastor Ann has acknowledged the impact the Church has on her neighbors and I believe she would like to minimize it as well.

The ten bed respite is only the latest program that made a lot of people ask, whats going to be next. The program was initiated by public officials, who have already celebrated their "victory" privately with out ever telling the resident of Milton Street anything publicly. Is that right?

So before NIMBY is thrown around, look closer at what Milton Street has already excepted over the years and simply ask, what is the right thing for any neighbor to do?
Jan. 22, 2013, 8:33 am
Ron from Brooklyn says:
To Schaz,
You either work for a public relations firm, or you are a consultant for the church , or just maybe a wanna be writer but in the end after reading your piece deal with reality not a Christmas Carol . What a bunch of Crap , oh by the way Christmas Carol great movie .
Jan. 22, 2013, 12:08 pm
Peter from Brooklyn says:
First I wanna say that all the things Ive reas here many of you bring valid points . But being that I work for the city and deal with these issues for the past 12 years I have to tell you that most of these people do not want to be help they prefer to be in shelters and when they go into detox and are offered jobs or training they either decline or never bother to show up , second putting one of these shelters on a residential block is amazing , it is a fact that the quality of life drops , crime goes up , drug and alcohol sales rise these are not my figures , all you need to do is call your community officer at the local precint , but I will also say in this case if you have a shelter 4 blocks away why is this one there . Most of the homeless that I have dealt with all are 3 to4 times repeat offenders . In defense of milton street I will say that there should have been some type of feedback before going ahead with this shelter . Second and I know some people will not like what I am about to say is that it is easy to right blogs and paper articles and there are millions of you but what we really need is space and volenteers which we lack 100 percent the old saying its easy to write it down get off your ass and do something , thank you all for your time .
Jan. 22, 2013, 12:22 pm
David from LES says:
I know personally both resident/owners of Milton street and a friend who is homeless in New York. Stop with the stereotyping of people to begin with. "Hipsters or Yuppies" is a useless term, these are hard working people like anyone else who take pride in owning a home and live in a neighborhood. The "homeless" friend of mine is a good guy, but a long-term alcoholic and can't seem to keep his life on track with the high costs of living in NYC. He now is in an apartment (homeless apt) with a roommate gets free haircuts, food stamps, free medical, teeth fixed. Has a job now helping clean up Sandy aftermath.

I will also add my friends (other friends) who own on Milton give greatly to charity and causes. Both money and time. They are not locked in a walled estate in Great Neck or some other country club.

Tale of two cities... reality.

Now as to the men who inhabit the church and their habits. I can't say I know. I can only imagine those sleeping in parks are the on the lowest rungs of the homeless world. They may have mental illness, they may be on drugs who knows.

Bottom line, is the resident owners of Milton street have every right to determine and be involved with what opens on their block, esp. if the Homeless are abusing the situation and exposing themselves etc.
Jan. 22, 2013, 12:31 pm
Bobby from Greenpoint says:
To Schaz,
I have never read such —— in my life , do you live in a bubble ,
Jan. 23, 2013, 7:16 pm
Jason from Greenpoint says:
To Schaz,
Get a life , simple , get a life, what nonsense .
Jan. 23, 2013, 7:18 pm
Teresa from Greenpoint says:
Peter and David, thank you for your words. I appreciate your comments.
Jan. 24, 2013, 1:30 am
lillian from greenpoint says:
I'm a life long resident of Greenpoint, I was born here 63 years ago. I always loved and defended Greenpoint,
and even talked my daughter into raising her family here. Now my granddaughters can't even walk on Manhattan Avene without being approached by a drug addict, or alcolholic...they can't wait for their bus to school without being followed, they can't take the train without having to deal with a homeless person exposing himself to them...Whats going on!!! These aren't homeless people, these people need help! And YES not in my neighborhood that I loved all my life!! Where was I when they moved this in? I didn't even know about it until it became a huge problem..Where was Lentol and our other representatives??? I worry about my grandchildren everyday going to school..that shouldn't be!! Someone has to do something!!
Jan. 25, 2013, 1:36 pm
Jack from Greenpoint says:
Lillian.
Well on Jan 31st you can tell Lentol yourself he will be at a meeting set up by the Milton street block association which is trying to correct a lot of problems on Milton street . It is being held at the Polonais on Greenpoint ave 7 pm , all of this was defended by Steve Levin your councilman who is running for re election , recently who stated he supports these projects 100 percent which he funded along with Lentol ,
Jan. 26, 2013, 10:18 am

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