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Shelter shocker: Homeless move into Carroll Gardens building — right now

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A controversial plan to turn a vacant W. Ninth Street building into a homeless shelter became a reality on Tuesday night due to Hurricane Sandy.

About 120 homeless male veterans who were displaced from a Queens shelter during the storm are receiving temporary housing at the building between Court Street and Hamilton Avenue — where the lease-holder intends to set up a permanent 170-bed homeless shelter despite community opposition.

The Department of Homeless Services broke the news of the hurricane shelter to Community Board 6 district manager Craig Hammerman by letter on Monday, insisting it’s only temporary.

“We were told this is going to be short term, they will be out in less than a month,” said Hammerman.

The Institute for Community Living, which operates the storm-damaged Queens shelter, is in charge of the temporary W. Ninth Street facility.

The arrival of the storm shelter comes after neighbors protested a plan by Housing Solutions USA, which holds the lease on the site and intends to open the contested, long-term shelter.

Carroll Gardens residents expressed compassion for the displaced homeless vets, but echoed their angst about the plan for a permanent shelter.

“For veterans on a temporary basis until their place is rehabilitated, we can do that. Neighbor can help neighbor, no doubt about it,” said longtime Carroll Gardens resident Buddy Scotto, 84, who is completely opposed to the possibility of a permanent 170-bed homeless shelter in the up-and-coming area in the shadow of the Gowanus Expressway.

“This is the weakest part of our neighborhood, which means we need to strengthen this part of the neighborhood, not weaken it,” he said.

Carroll Gardens resident Matthew Morettini wants to make sure the temporary homeless shelter doesn’t become a permanent part of W. Ninth Street.

“I understand them coming in now since everyone was displaced with the hurricane, but I hope that doesn’t mean a final decision has been made,” he said. “Now it’s just happening without any other input from the community.”

The vets coming to W. Ninth Street — some of whom lost much of their belongings to the storm — hope their new neighbors will accept them.

“I hope the community understands that we served our country from Iraq and Vietnam,” said Mike, a 53-year-old Army veteran who declined to give his last name because he doesn’t want to publicize the fact he is homeless. “I don’t want to be pre-judged — we are veterans and we deserve respect.”

But other Carroll Gardens residents contend that the long-term proposal is unsafe for the kid-friendly neighborhood.

“It’s going to definitely increase crime rates, reduce safety, and reduce the value of the neighborho­od,” said Tarek Ahmed, a father of five-month-old twins.

The Department of Homeless Services did not return calls before press time.

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Reader Feedback

Caring soul from Bklyn heights says:
Please folks ,please be kind to the homeless ,enbrase them and show them how much you care we are a progressive people ,its about time we share the fruits of our hard earned labor, our wondserful condos we worked so hard for and put our collage loans on hold help the down and out , they deserve it . and in the summer lets send them to the hamptions . be kind like Mr X said the chickens have come to roost ........now feed them ....
Nov. 7, 2012, 7:46 pm
benti from brooklyn says:
The Liberal Mantra 'NIMBY' continue's...what happened to all that Hope & Change they promote. These are the same Folks who took over these neighborhoods using the term Gentrification (a kind word in their vocabulary), pushing the poor out and never feeling any guilt or remorse...just hip because it became a cool investment over time. God forbid a poor or needy person wants to move next door. What ever happened to the Judeo/Christian ethic in giving someone another chance. At the very least, these are the Soldier's who made it possible for us to live the American Dream. I've been waiting for this answer for a long time and it never comes.
Nov. 7, 2012, 8:08 pm
open your eyes from logic says:
No one has mentioned the sex offenders yet.

A large % of homeless in shelters are pedophiles.

If you dont believe, do a homefacts dot com search for long island city and youll see that all the registered sex offenders live in a shelter there.

If you all are OK with having your sons and daughters make best friends with the new kid rapists hanging out on the stoop in the name of being PC and inclusive, that's your call.

But if you had any sense, you should get out there and oppose this shelter and make your voices heard.

Dont give into the attempt to guilt you into allowing this shelter in your home under the false argument that your privilege makes you have to accept this. Protect your family first.

Those warm fuzzy feelings from helping the "homeless" wont be there once your new neighbor Mr Big takes down little Johnny's pants in the alley.
Nov. 8, 2012, 12:38 am
Resident from Carroll Gardens says:
I live around the corner from the proposed shelter. Yesterday, a neighbor informed me that he had witnessed men loitering on the corner at night, so I purposely came home early (i.e., 8pm) from work, because I was afraid to walk in the area after all the stores and restaurants had closed. Sure enough, there were approximately 5-6 men loitering outside the denist office on 9th and Court. Then, this morning my toddler daughter and I had the pleasure of riding the bus with several shady characters. Not good.
Nov. 9, 2012, 9:21 am
neighbor from carroll gardens says:
Hi there,

I'm around that corner all the time, very late at night, and I really don't think there's anything to worry about. I actually met a couple of the vets last night, and they were nothing if not polite and interested in learning more about the neighborhood. I hope you're all able to put your prejudices aside going forward!
Nov. 9, 2012, 2 pm
Resident from Carroll Gardens says:
Glad that you met some of the nice vets. Unfortunately, the ones I saw were shady. I grew up in a low income area of the Bronx, and know shady when I see it. As I post, there are 10 men in front of the dentist office... Not safe for a mom and young daughter.
Nov. 9, 2012, 8:31 pm
L from carroll gardens says:
Do not mistake prudence for prejudice.
Nov. 9, 2012, 9:36 pm
Tom from carroll gardens says:
In my day we called them BUMS I stil think they ate bums Put them in jail
Nov. 10, 2012, 1:14 pm
Lourdes from NYC says:
Just pray to God that you or any of your loved ones don't ever end up on the streets as these brave men have. I am sure your prejudice and narrowed view will quickly do 180 degrees turn.I am the mother of a return vet from Irak and the reason why he is in the shelter system is neither because he is a bum or a pedophile for that matter. Circumstances beyond someones control sometimes forces people to end up in a shelter even if for temporary reasons. Lets not forget that it is thanks to people like them that we get to enjoy the freedom we have, and this is the treatment they get? Shame on you all prejudice and stuck up people!
Nov. 12, 2012, 6:36 pm
lucy from Carroll Gardens says:
I live a couple houses down from the shelter, and I'll be honest, I wasn't stoked about the shelter when I heard about it. But now that it's open, I've changed my opinion.
Yes, the residents of the shelter hang outside a lot. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I'm not sure how much time you spend at that corner, but it's usually desolate. Having these vets standing outside might make the block safer.
Just because they are homeless, that doesn't automatically make them criminals.
This doesn't put all of the issues with the company that is running the shelter or the fact that they want to cram 170 people into the building. However, these things are not the fault of the people who will be living inside.
Nov. 13, 2012, 7:42 am
neighbor from carroll gardens says:
To Resident:
People are allowed to hang around outside, whether they're currently living in a shelter or rich like you. It's really unfair to judge these guys because they look "shady" to you. I'm guessing all kinds of folks without college degrees and white collar jobs in the city also look shady. Perhaps it's time for you to get out of the city and into a gated community! If you cannot understand that these people don't mean you harm, you're probably not able to withstand the other stresses of living in a city.

And agreed with Lucy, homeless folks are not necessarily criminals. Again, hope those of you opposed will get yourselves into a shelter this holiday season to volunteer and face your prejudices and fears!
Nov. 14, 2012, 8:56 pm
—— anonymous from brooklyn says:
its funny how these people sit in their castles throwing stones at people who have fought for our country and now need our help and how they are so quick to judge that after a tragedy like sandy they are out there screaming not in our back yard,I hope that god,karma,righteousness whatever power hat be when these people are judged that they will be judged accordingto their callous acts
Nov. 15, 2012, 11:13 am
mercedes from Bensonhurt says:
I pray to God all of you in the hight horses never be homeless I was once and I know how it feel
Nov. 17, 2012, 9:17 am
mercedes from Bensonhurt says:
I pray to God all of you in the hight horses never be homeless I was once and I know how it feel
Nov. 17, 2012, 9:17 am

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