After a meeting with city homeless officials and a service provider, that was at times contentious and constructive, a Community Board 10 committee voted to oppose the Capri Whitestone Motel homeless shelter.
The motel, located on the Hutchinson River Parkway service road in Ferry Point, was leased to service provider Acacia after the Department of Homeless Services determined nee.
Up to 95 families will be housed at that location, according to DHS officials and Acacia representatives at a Monday, September 22 meeting.
After about two hours of discussion with DHS and Acacia, Community Board 10’s Municipal Service Committee voted unanimously to oppose the siting of a shelter in the Ferry Point community for a variety of reasons.
“Community Board 10 is opposed to the installation of a homeless shelter at the location of the Capri Whitestone Motel, due to a lack of nearby services for the proposed tenants, the failure of the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to follow due process and perform due diligence, and the adverse impact that it will have on the socio-economic well-being of the Ferry Point community,” stated the resolution that was approved. “The committee further opposes this siting, because it will have a decided negative affect upon an area slated for future development, depriving the board’s service area of the benefits associated with its promised economic rejuvenation of the surrounding community…”
The resolution will be voted on by the full board at its next general meeting, scheduled for Thursday, October 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Riverbay Corporation, 177 Dreiser Loop, Auditorium A in Co-op City.
According to DHS representatives at the meeting, 54 families were housed at the shuttered motel as of September 22. DHS committed to establishing a Community Advisory Board for the shelter, which opened last week in the midst of what the agency termed an “homelessness emergency.”
CB 10 board member Robert Bieder said that although the Bronx is just one of five boroughs, it has about 35% of the city’s homeless population. He was cheered by many in the room when this point was made. He said that the entire city has a legal and moral obligation to house the homeless, but the borough has more than its fair share of shelters, which should only be 20 percent.
“We are not getting our fair share; we are getting abused,” said Bieder about shelter sitings in the Bronx. “It has gotten to the point where you say, ‘you know what, we can get away with it, let’s put it in the Bronx.’”
Representatives of the Trump Organization were also present at the meeting. Donald Trump’s real estate firm is completing work on a new golf course close to the Capri Whitestone in Ferry Point Park. That golf course was paid for by taxpayer funds.
CB 10 chairman Martin Prince said, among other comments presented during the meeting during a robust Q&A period, that the eventual number of DHS’ homeless families slated for this facility will outnumber the current residential population of the Ferry Point community.
JoAnne Somers, president of the Ferry Point Civic Association, Inc, stated at the meeting that the area was going to be inundated with traffic because of school buses and a shuttle service going and coming from the motel.
Dotti Poggi, leader of the Ferry Point Community Advocates, said that the DHS’ bullied her community into accepting it, and expressed concern about the “image” of the area.