We’re full! Bed-Stuy board says nabe has enough homeless, mentally ill

We’re full! Bed-Stuy board says nabe has enough homeless, mentally ill
Photo by Louise Wateridge

Bedford-Stuyvesant is shouldering more than its fair share of the city’s homeless and mentally-ill population, say members of the local community board — and now they’re putting their feet down.

The panel on Monday rejected a plan for a new facility on Gates Avenue that would house people who tick both boxes — right next door to a men’s shelter and a rehab center — with naysayers declaring they are done being a dumping ground for the borough’s down and out.

“We need to start stepping up and saying, ‘Stop this, we have enough,’” said Community Board 3 member Felicia Alexander.

The board voted 16–11 against the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health’s plan to stick 68 below-market-rate units in a space between Marcy and Tompkins avenues — 50 of which will go to chronically homeless and mentally-ill adults coming out of the shelter system.

The organization said it will work with refuges across the borough to find and screen appropriate tenants for the five-story building, which will have on-site medical and social services.

The group would set aside the remaining 18 studio apartments for low-income locals — all tenants would sign rent-stabilized leases and would fork over 30 percent of their income for rent, a rep said.

But the facility would pop up right next to a shelter run by the Doe Fund — the group behind those blue-shirted “Ready, Willing, and Able” street-cleaning crews — and the Paul. J Cooper center for substance abuse treatment. Residents told the outfit that the area is already overburdened with vagrants, and suggested it set up shop elsewhere.

“I have one question — why Bed-Stuy?” said Alexander. “It is already overflowing with these types of units.”

But a honcho from the organization insisted his building won’t be a shelter with transients wandering in and out — it will be a permanent residence for people who can live functional, stable lives with the right help, claimed director of development Peter Bittle.

Bittle pledged to run a tight ship — the group will vet prospective residents to make sure they aren’t dangerous, and on-site security will prevent any unsavory activity on the streets.

“I don’t feel that we are contributing to any of what you are concerned about,” he said.

The group had hoped to garner a letter of support from the board to send the city Housing and Preservation Development, which would fund the project. But ultimately, the agency can still give the units its okay without community support.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.