MEETING TONIGHT: Update on planned homeless shelter in Carroll Gardens

Carroll Gardens residents: Don’t give us homeless shelter
Community Newspaper Group / Natalie O’Neill

Residents will be updated on the controversial plan to open a men’s homeless shelter in a vacant building in Carroll Gardens during a meeting hosted by a councilman and other community leaders tonight.

The Coalition for Carroll Gardens, a group that opposes this shelter plan, will lead a discussion tonight at 7 pm at 505 Court St. between Huntington and W. Ninth streets.

Local pols, including Councilman Brad Lander, who will speak at the meeting, called for an investigation of the controversial proposal to turn a vacant 10-unit W. Ninth Street building into a permanent 170-bed homeless shelter earlier this month after the city cleared numerous violations on the site between Court Street and Hamilton Avenue, officials said, claiming that those moves by the city could help block the plan.

“Basic safety and integrity concerns appear to have been tossed aside to facilitate this project,” wrote Lander, state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D–Fort Greene), and Assemblywoman Joan Millman (D–Carroll Gardens) in an Oct. 2 letter to Rose Gill Hearn, commissioner of the Department of Investigation.

According to Lander’s office, a May 2013 audit by the Department of Buildings found “several objections” to zoning, building codes, and multiple dwellings law and threatened to revoke all permits from the site that lease-holder Housing Solutions USA and Augila Incorporated have been trying to turn into an all men’s adult homeless since the operator filed with the Department of Homeless Services last year.

The Department of Buildings then dismissed all violations on the property except for one, according to the city agency’s website. The pols have also filed a Freedom of Information Law request for detailed documents of the buildings agency audit.

Opponents of the men’s shelter say the 10-unit building cannot legally hold 170 occupants and that the maximum permitted occupancy is 30 unrelated persons.

The Coalition tried to block the plan by filing for a temporary restraining order against the city and service providers last year, and celebrated a big win when a state Supreme Court judge ordered in December that the building not be used “in violation of applicable laws and requirements,” even though he allowed construction to continue at the site.

The five-story building was originally slated for luxury condos, but was never occupied until 120 homeless male veterans moved in in November after Hurricane Sandy ravaged their Queens shelter. The vets were out within 10 days.

Many residents have contended that the proposal for a long-term homeless shelter is unsafe and unfit for the family-centric neighborhood.

Tonights meeting is a precursor to a city hearing on the shelter, which will take place on Thursday morning in Manhattan.

Meeting tonight hosted by the Coalition for Carroll Gardens (505 Court S. between Huntington and W. Ninth streets in Carroll Gardens) 7 pm.

Public hearing on proposed homeless shelter (49-51 Chambers Street near Centre Street in Manhattan) Oct. 17, 10 am.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.