CB7 hears homeless shelter proposal for Fordham Manor

CB7 hears homeless shelter proposal for Fordham Manor
Community News Group/Sarah Valenzuela

At the Community Board 7 Housing Committee meeting on Tuesday, March 13, members of the community and board listened to yet another proposal for a shelter, this one set for Fordham Manor.

The planned location at 360 E. 193rd Street, a former Montefiore facility, is slated to add another 110 units for single homeless adult women from throughout the borough.

The shelter will be operated by Black Veterans for Social Justice, an organization with over 25 years experience with homeless shelters in the city.

This shelter promises a different kind of experience for both clients and residents of the community in an effort to get women in the shelter back on their feet, the operator claims.

“We are highly invested in the communities we open shelters in, not only because of the people we service, but because we’re all human beings and we believe we all need to be serviced,” said Jelani Mashariki, the regional director of Shelter Operations at Black Veterans for Social Justice.

“If neighbors are having a block party, our clients offer to help clean up, if there’s a community garden, our clients help with the upkeep because we’re all part of this community,” continued Mashariki.

He also explained that the shelter will create job opportunities for qualified Bronxites as part of the process.

As this shelter is the first of this organizations’ to open in the borough, one of the biggest concerns residents had at the meeting was the location and how it was chosen.

“One hundred and ninety-third is the worst place to put a shelter, I don’t even want to be there,” said Dwayne Osborne, a resident of that area. “If you don’t get robbed something’s going to happen to you over there, so you may want to reconsider this location.”

The location was proposed by a not-for-profit provider through an open-ended Request For Proposal process, according NYC Department of Homeless Services representatives present at the meeting.

The board stressed to DHS and Black Vets reps the importance of early and adequate communication to communities where shelters are to be sited, besides coming to the community board.

“A lot of people are not against shelters, some of them want to really help,” said Myrna Calderon, a member of the CB7. “But you don’t even give them the opportunity because shelters are often just thrown into communities with little time to react.”

This shelter will be full service, offering clients three meals a day and provide programming all day long to improve the residents’ lives.

The clients living in the proposed all women’s shelter will have a 10 p.m. curfew.

Twenty-four hour surveillance cameras and perimeter checks are standard at their facilities, according to Black Vets for Social Justice.

The organization does not tolerate loitering, according to Mashariki.

Although many on the committee found the sponsoring agency reputable, they were still wary of the proposed location.

CB7’s Housing Committee was not asked to vote or give a Letter of Consent for the proposed shelter.

Reach Reporter Sarah Valenzuela at (718) 260-4584. E-mail her at svalenzuela@cnglocal.com.