Brooklyn residents fight back against addition of 20th homeless shelter

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ByJim Dolan via WABC logo
Friday, March 3, 2017
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Jim Dolan has the story.

CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A Brooklyn neighborhood is pushing back against the city's plan to put another homeless shelter in their community.

Bergen Street in Crown Heights is lined with apartment buildings and beautiful old brownstones.

There's a century old church that holds Bible classes for kids. Families feel safe there, or they used to.

"If I could get it, I'd buy barbed wire to put up," a resident said.

The city is putting a men's shelter in this building, for homeless, single men over 50 years old.

"They could be rapists, they could be coming out of jail, sex offenders, we don't know who these men are," said Weslyn Hines, a resident.

There are already so many shelters nearby.

"If you walk about ten blocks there are ten shelters around here," a resident said.

He's not exaggerating much. There are 19 homeless shelters in this city council district already and the families on Bergen Street have to cope with many of them.

"We have people from the other shelter on Bedford Avenue that come through the block, where men have their pants halfway down to their knees, (we won't say what that man was dong in public), I mean, we have small kids, we are afraid for our children," a resident said.

"They have to leave the shelters and they are roaming around in the community," another resident said.

The mayor has said that he wants the burden of shelters shared across the city.

"I believe that's what he wants, but some, unfortunately, we find that some voices in the city are louder than others," said Councilman Robert Cornegy, (D) Crown Heights.

So far the voices of fear and concern on Bergen Street are being drowned out by those in other wealthier neighborhoods. The city has no plans to the delay the opening of the 20th homeless shelter in the city council district. There are some in Manhattan with none.