Puff, puff, bash: Slopers slam homeless-shelter residents for allegedly lighting up on their blocks

Fuming over fumes: Slopers claimed at an Oct. 4 community meeting that residents of the neighborhood’s women’s shelter inside the Park Slope Armory on Eighth Avenue are smoking pot on nearby streets and that their supposed habit will attract drug dealers to the nabe.
Brooklyn Paper
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This refuge’s neighbors are playing the toking victim.

Park Slope Women’s Shelter residents are luring drug dealers to the neighborhood by smoking weed on the stoops of homes near the facility, charged locals who complained of the alleged habit at a Wednesday community meeting.

“We have shelter residents who are smoking marijuana and they’re sitting on our stoops. That provides a population of buyers and we’re going to have a whole new population of sellers,” said 16th-Street resident Barbara Barran. “This is a very, very deep concern of ours.”

Barran, along with fellow 16th-Street denizens Nelly Isaacson and Laura Ide, organized the gathering of elected officials, cops, shelter workers, and a few dozen neighbors at Eighth Avenue’s Bishop Boardman Apartments, where they discussed the women’s supposed reefer use and other behavioral problems.

Residents of the shelter at 1402 Eighth Ave. between 14th and 15th streets, which serves women battling addiction and mental illness, turned 16th Street between Eighth Avenue and Prospect Park West into their own personal drug den about six months ago, according to Barran, who claimed their brazen pot smoking led to other bad behavior.

“Women started stopping into the exercise place on my block asking to use the bathroom, asking for money, urinating in the street, and panhandling in the neighborho­od,” the local said.

The recent antics followed years of peaceful coexistence between community and shelter residents, but there’s no mistaking one group for the other because the latter “do tend to stick out,” Barran said.

Representatives from Camba — the social-services provider that has operated the shelter inside the Park Slope Armory since 1996 — said they’ve expanded security patrols on the affected block, but that guards haven’t noticed any illicit activity while on their routines. The absence of visible proof led the facility’s honchos to question the locals’ anecdotal reports, which did not include any hard evidence, according to a Camba rep who spoke at the meeting.

“I have not heard any reports of our staff finding residents in the community smoking pot,” said Claire Harding-Keefe, Camba’s senior vice president. “I would question whether or not it’s our clients.”

And other locals in attendance slammed their neighbors who set up the event for being heartless, claiming the organizers spoke of shelter residents “as though they were criminals” when making their accusations.

“We’re trying to rehabilitate these people, get them into permanent housing, and I think the whole tone of this conversation needs to be a little bit more sympathetic,” said Park Slope resident Richard Bruce.

All parties resolved to communicate more openly by the end of the gathering, and locals received a phone number for the shelter’s director, whom they were encouraged to report future bad behavior to with the promise that security would be sent pronto in order to document and resolve any incident, according to the Camba rep.

“The main point was to let us know in as real time as possible, so that we can go out and see if it is our clients,” Harding-Keefe said.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:54 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Sparkle from Bay Ridge says:
Why must these white interlopers try to impose their behavioral standards on indigenous populations? And near Columbus Day! This is terrible. I want to go to the shelter and urinate in the street in solidarity. I want to smoke pot and scream at the top of my lungs. I want to rage against those who would inhibit me and others.

That is what I want to do.
Oct. 9, 2017, 7:48 am
norman hathaway from windsor terrace says:
i walk on that street at least twice a day and have never encountered any of the behavior stated in the article.
Oct. 9, 2017, 8:44 am
Penny from Washington Heights says:
Sorry to say, but this kind of bad behavior is probably why their husbands left them.
Oct. 9, 2017, 9:16 am
Barbara Barran from Park Slope says:
I really don't appreciate the sneering tone of this article, or the comments. The shelter has been in our neighborhood for 21 years, and this is the first community meeting that we have held to discuss issues with the residents. I started by saying that this was NOT a meeting to try to close the shelter, and that for the vast majority of the time, the shelter residents have been good neighbors. Think about it, folks. Would people take the time to organize a meeting and spend 2 hours discussing issues if there weren't a problem? I'm extremely disappointed by the tenor of this article. Please read Pamela Wong's description of the meeting on
Oct. 9, 2017, 12:50 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
When we had a mayor that would lock up the criminals doing drugs on our streets, these issues were dealt with and the druggies put in the jail cells they belonged in. Maybe we can have another of those mayors in November.
Oct. 9, 2017, 8:26 pm
Big J from McDonald from Windsor Terrace says:
THANK YOU KNUCKLHEAD DeBlasio !!! These Animals Are Destroying All The Neighborhoods!!These Animals Need To Be Locked Up And Throw Away The Keys !!! Remember Vote To Get Rid Of This KNUCKLHEAD MAYOR ONETERMBILL !!!!
Oct. 9, 2017, 9:36 pm
Barbara from Park Slope says:
Penny, the article doesn't mention the women's marital status. You invented husbands for them, and then you invented the notion that those husbands left them. You also found them guilty of the behavior without any evidence.

Penny from Washington Heights says:
Sorry to say, but this kind of bad behavior is probably why their husbands left them.
Oct. 10, 2017, 12:36 am
Hypocrites from Park Slope says:
It's not the marijuana that's bothering these residents.
Oct. 10, 2017, 5:49 am
Matt from Bedford-Stuyvesant says:
I live near a similar shelter for men and, for the most part, the only issues I have are that they will hang in front of residences waiting for dinner and drink beer and sometimes urinate but usually throw the empties in the street. I certainly feel for these people and rarely ever complain about it. I don't understand though why they would want a shelter in the middle of a residential neighborhood. It would make more sense to be closer to the subway or a commercial zone where they could pick up odd jobs. Why not pay some of them to sweep the streets? This city is so poorly run. Diblasio and all these lame Democrats like Mark-viverito and Letitia James are just an angry, bitter bunch of bad leaders. We need adults to take over!
Oct. 10, 2017, 7:58 am
Brenda from Feminist says:
People are just threatened by strong, Independent women! They own their sensuality, and if taking drugs is "unladylike" well they don't care! They will screw a stranger while smoking crack on the street and there's nothing you can do about it - not with all the male tears and butthurt in the world! We're fighting to allow all homeless women to have risky sex and do drugs no matter what anyone says!
Oct. 11, 2017, 2:28 am
Just visiting from Park Slope says:
I’m in the 8th Ave neighborhood visiting for a week. My first night here, I past the armory heading towards 7th Ave. 5 women were huddled on the side of the building passing around a pipe of marijuana. 1 of the women also held a flask or pint of liquor. I was a bit shocked that they didn’t try to conceal what they had or were doing.
This was my first time in Brooklyn and I wasn’t aware that this armory was a women’s shelter until I Googled it and found this article. I find it hard to believe that they have found no evidence that this behavior is happening! Or if it is, it’s not their clients! Gimme a break.

Oh yes...the next morning, while getting in my car, I saw one of the same women from the night before, standing outside the front door smoking a cigarette. Really? Not your clients?
March 1, 9:30 pm

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