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New group now seeks homeless shelter at McGuinness site

The Brooklyn Paper
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A homeless shelter in Greenpoint is back on the table.

A Manhattan-based social services provider wants to operate a 200-bed men’s shelter at a McGuinness Boulevard loft building — a plan virtually identical to one withdrawn by another provider last month amid fierce public outcry.

The Bowery Residents’ Committee, a 40-year-old housing and homeless services nonprofit, told Community Board 1 of its hopes to operate the shelter two days after news broke that the building had changed hands.

Bowery Executive Director Muzzy Rosenblatt called her group’s plan “a new assessment facility,” and pledged to work with CB1 to meet local concerns.

The Bowery Residents’ Committee will look to succeed where its rival provider, HELP USA, failed.

HELP USA submitted its proposal in August for a 200-bed “assessment center” at Clay Street that would treat a revolving-door of homeless individuals admitted from various parts of the city for mental health and substance-abuse issues.

But Greenpoint residents revolted and public officials, led by Councilman Steve Levin (D–Greenpoint), turned against the plan.

Seven months later, HELP USA withdrew its application citing budgetary concerns.

But the building’s owner continued to negotiate with its long-term tenants, finally buying them out last month for nearly $600,000, and listing the loft for $5.5 million.

In mid-February, hotelier Shimmie Horn and his partner Sid Borenstein, who own four luxury hotels in Manhattan, purchased the four-story brick building for close to $5 million.

Horn did not return calls for comment. A spokeswoman from the Department of Homeless Services declined to comment though a source added that other providers are interested in the Greenpoint site.

Posted 12:00 am, March 11, 2011
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