Community Board 10 and Pelham Bay community members recently had a mid-afternoon meeting with the social service provider that has leased the Pelham Grand.
The meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 6, which at times was somewhat intense, included the top managers and the executive director and CEO of Allied Service Center NYC.
ASCNYC has leased the long-vacant hospital building, which was once the D’urso Pavilion of Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center. It is a group known for providing housing and services to people with HIV.
ASCNYC CEO Sharen Duke explained that the funding for the services at the building at 1870 Pelham Parkway South is coming from leveraged federal resources. CB10 chairman Martin Prince explained that the group was not required to meet with or get community board approval for their plan, which calls for 70 units of housing at the location.
Prince said that the community could indeed benefit from an alternate senior housing plan put forth by elected officials, Senator Jeff Klein and Councilman Jimmy Vacca. The landlord can still exercise his option to end the lease to ASCNYC until near the end of August, according to several independently-verified sources.
“I would love to see that alternative in terms of senior housing or something of that nature,” he said. “That really directly impacts a very hidden crisis in the community, which housing in general, but senior housing specifically,” said Prince.
However, Prince went on to say that groups that are well-organized and have the funding ready to set up their programs are going to be able to obtain vacant properties quickly.
Looking towards the long-term, he said the community needs to have connections or contacts so when vacant land or a building become available, it can get a program that meets its needs.
Whether or not the elected officials’ plan comes to pass, he expressed a commitment to work with ASCNYC to make sure their program adheres to what the CB10 believes are community standards.
The electeds’ plan, which has two providers vying for a state Department of Health grant they may or may not get, has yet to come to pass.
“If that doesn’t happen, then the outcome we do have we are going to work with,” said Prince, citing a need for community stability.
He added: “If we can have them as grateful, good neighbors, participating with us, then we look to them to help us maintain the type of neighborhood we have. We hope that the folks who come through their program have much success. This is a life challenge for these folks.”
ASCNYC plans to have an open house at the building on Sunday, Aug. 24, said Duke. Tours will be given, and any family that wants can receive a free 8”x10” self or family portrait.