Residents fight against proposed homeless shelter in Bedford-Stuyvesant

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Josh Einiger has the story.

Angry residents protested another proposed homeless shelter, this time in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

They say they already have their fair share of shelters with three in the community right now.

Some residents say adding another one is just too much.

They packed into the tight and overheated room Monday night to hear a proposal.

"What's the saying, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck it's a duck? But this is actually not a shelter," an official said.

They did not like what they heard.

"Stop! You're playing with people's lives," another said.

In this long vacant former foster care agency, the city's Department of Homeless Services wants to open what it calls a drop in center where street homeless can have a shower or a doctor's appointment or a bed for the night. They insist it's not a traditional homeless shelter.

"The beds are for them to sleep overnight in. So, that's a shelter! If you're staying there you're sleeping, that's a shelter," a resident said.

But in Bedford-Stuyvesant they are not having it. The location is surrounded by more than a dozen actual shelters and that's just in the area known as Community Board 3.

The city insists it's trying to spread the pain, but there have been two heated meetings in Maspeth, Queens this month, when they announced that community board's first shelter.

In Bedford-Stuyvesant they say they've done their share.

"In terms of how many shelters are in Park Slope or Cobble Hill, I honestly can't tell you the numbers now," the DHS official said.

"My story? Former shelter resident, former crackhead," said Diana Foster, a resident.

Foster used to be homeless, but now she sits on a neighboring community board, which she says is also saturated by shelters.

"The solution is not safe havens and shelters and drop ins. The solution is affordable housing with supportive services that we need," Foster said. "He wants to be reelected. And what de Blasio is doing right now, it looks like he's going to be a one term mayor."

Because of the history in Bedford-Stuyvesant, city officials say people have a right to be heard on any proposal before any decision is made. They sure heard those voices Monday night. But were they listening?
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newshomelessshelterprotestBedford StuyvesantNew York City
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