CB1 rejects mental health clinic leasing space along Third Avenue

The vacant site at 2582 Third Ave. where a Manhattan nonprofit was hoping to lease space for a mental health clinic.
Photos Adrian Childress

A Manhattan nonprofit that provides outpatient mental health and addiction services was hoping to expand its footprint into the South Bronx, but Community Board 1 rejected the proposal citing too many clinics already in the area.

On Sept. 30, the board voted down a proposal by the Emma Bowen Community Service Center to rent space at 2582 Third Ave., to provide outpatient addiction services. The consensus of the board was although the area is known for drug use, it is also already oversaturated with clinics and shelters that provide mental health services.

Damian Family Care Center, a mental health clinic on Third Avenue, is one of several clinics already clustered in the South Bronx.

In fact, within a three- to five-block radius of the proposed location is Damian Family Care Center, 2604 Third Ave., and a safe haven shelter at 345 E. 146th St. Additionally, there is a mental health clinic near Roberto Clemente Plaza and a detox center, located at 298 Third Ave.

“The full board has always told the health committee that they are tired of these programs coming into the district,” said Brenda Goodwin, chair of the board’s Health and Human Services Committee. “At some point in time I hope we would put a moratorium on these programs coming into the district.”

Fellow board member Ricardo Cosme Ruiz felt the area needed to be revitalized.

“That whole area is in need of work,” he said. “I think that it’s time we start taking steps and really not giving a letter of support to this type of service. We’re not against services. We’re just saying we have enough of those services in that area. Adding another one just doesn’t make any sense.”

NYC Councilwoman Diana Ayala, a Democrat who represents Mott Haven, is also opposed to bringing an additional clinic to Third Avenue. Jose Rodriguez, Ayala’s chief of staff, told the Bronx Times the lawmaker is not “anti-shelter or anti-clinic,” but objects to communities being oversaturated with them.

“The problem is you put all these entities in one location, and you are not giving us our fair share of resources,” he said.

While a representative from the Bowen Community Center was not present at the Sept. 30 meeting, Patricia C. Jordan, the center’s board chairperson, spoke with the Bronx Times about what the nonprofit offers and could do for the South Bronx. Bowen, which has existed for more than three decades, is one of Harlem’s leading community based organizations, that provides supportive mental, behavioral health and addiction services to clients throughout the five boroughs, Bowen said.

Some of the programs it offers include: a therapeutic preschool for children with behavioral and developmental issues, outpatient mental health services for children and adolescents, programs for adults and seniors dealing with mental health and addiction recovery challenges and a care management team that provides advocacy and services to clients and home-bound individuals.

While Jordan said Bowen is disappointed CB 1 was not in favor of them coming to the South Bronx, the nonprofit will continue to help people throughout NYC.

“We remain committed to expanding our programs and services so that they can continue to reach more individuals who are in need,” she said. “This includes finding additional suitable locations throughout the City of New York and working with those communities to bring our services to their residents.”

Reach Jason Cohen at jcohen@schnepsmedia.com or (718) 260-4598. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter @bronxtimes and Facebook @bronxtimes. 

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