Letter: Article doesn’t tell the whole story on CB11 homeless shelters

2436 Kingsland Avenue-7
A close-up view of the 2436 Kingsland Ave. house that was proposed for a group home.
Photo Aliya Schneider
To the Editor,
There needs to be some factual clarity when reading the article “Kingsland Avenue group home a no-go after state rejection due to ‘over saturation’ in CB11 neighborhood.” The last sentence leaves the reading to assume that CB11 just doesn’t want homeless shelters or that they are against any homeless shelters.
The article implies that CB11 does not want a Department of Homeless Services (DHS) shelter. In fact, the community requested a family shelter at 1400 Blondell Ave. and 2443 Poplar St. when homeless shelters were proposed for these sites. CB11’s request was declined by DHS, which contends that our community needs shelters for single homeless men — and has yet to provide CB11 with the data on which this determination was made.
In addition, the last sentence of the article, “The community district currently has no homeless shelters,” is factually incorrect. When evaluating sites for homeless shelters, DHS does not take into account other government/city programs that rent and convert private homes to group homes or HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) shelters. Just because CB11 doesn’t have a DHS shelter doesn’t mean the neighborhoods within its borders are not already saturated with government/city programs, group homes and HASA shelters.
For years, two-family homes throughout CB11 have been converted to group homes, HASA shelters, and rented for government/city programs without amendments to certificates of occupancy — and, in many cases, the community board wasn’t even given the courtesy to review proposals until the conversions were practically a done deal.
CB11 has plenty of shelters. But Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island each have two community boards that have no shelters. Instead of further saturating CB11 with more shelters, DHS should target those community boards.
Bernadette Ferrara

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