Carroll Gardens residents aren't the only ones concerned with the prospect of a proposed 170-bed homeless shelter making its way to 165 W. 9 St. — elected officials have begun to take issue with the situation as well.
In a letter to Seth Diamond, the Commissioner of the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS), elected officials including Councilmember Brad Lander, Borough President Marty Markowitz, Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblywoman Joan Millman ask to be part of the process to develop an "appropriate proposal" to bring a homeless shelter to the neighborhood.
"We recognize that it is our collective responsibility — as both a city and a community — to support the mission of the NYC Department of Homeless Services and to provide shelter for homeless New Yorkers," the letter states. "If DHS will work with us and our community in a collaborative fashion to develop an appropriate proposal, we are committed to supporting a shelter in Carroll Gardens."
"However, that must not mean using the City’s emergency contracting provisions to rush an ill-conceived project through, with only a half-page, 30-day notice to the community, squeezing 170 people into a 10-unit building, with no plans provided for social services or security, and disregard for City rules and processes, including an apparent conflict of interest," the letter continues.
Officials said in the letter that they do not understand how it is possible or advisable to place 170 people into a 10-unit building on a block of three-family homes, as the current homeless shelter proposal would do.
The letter expresses the officials' desire to view plans to amend the building's Certificate of Occupancy to accommodate the planned changes in occupancy, permits allowing work currently the officials say is underway, and plans for the provision of social services or security, which officials say are "an essential element of any homeless shelter."
"It is outrageous that the 30-day notice requirement could be satisfied by a half-page letter that includes no details – not the population intended for the building, not the plans, no provision for social services, no discussion of security," the letter continues.
"This does not reflect respect for the community or its elected officials, or a genuine desire for dialogue that would enable the proposed shelter to succeed in meeting the needs of its residents or its neighbors."
It is also noted in the letter that the building appears to be owned by Charles Wertman, a board member of Housing Solutions USA, the company that plans to open the homeless shelter in question.
"Given that the City of New York will pay substantial sums for the rent of the building, this suggests a large potential conflict-of-interest," the letter states. "Do DHS and HSUSA have conflicts-of-interest policies that are in accordance with relevant laws? Are these rules affected in some way by the emergency contract process?"
The letter asks Diamond to provide written response to the concerns noted by the end of Friday, Oct. 19. It notes that while Housing Solutions USA plans to make a presentation at Community Board 6's Human Services Committee Meeting Thursday, Oct. 24, DHS "must also send a representative to attend this meeting."
Full Coverage of the Carroll Gardens Homeless Shelter Proposal
- Real Estate Cheat Sheet: Could Carroll Gardens Get a Homeless Shelter?
- Carroll Gardens Residents Draft Petition to Allow Input on Homeless Shelter Issue