A town hall is scheduled to air concerns over residents moving into the $62.8 million homeless residence at 233 Landing Road in University Heights.
The Landing Road public meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 25, at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church, in the Fr. Smith Center, 2345 University Avenue.
It is being organized by the NYC Department of Homeless Services and the Bowery Residents Committee, according to Rachel Bradshaw, vice president of the Fordham Hill Oval Owners Association.
Elected officials invited to attend include Congressman Adriano Espaillat, Councilman Fernando Cabrera, and assembly members Jose Rivera and Victor Pichardo.
Bradshaw said she recently met with Muzzy Rosenblatt, executive director of the Bowery Residents Committee, which is managing the residence and preparing it for occupancy in November.
“They tried to show that they’re doing their due diligence to move these men forward,” Bradshaw said. “They showed us the facility, how the living quarters look, (and we) got to hear from a few of the men” who are going to occupy the site.
Bradshaw said one homeless resident is a man who went through a divorce in Alabama, and then came to New York and moved in with a cousin to start a new life. But there was domestic abuse going on in the house and he told them he did not approve of that. So his cousin kicked him out and he found himself homeless.
With nowhere to turn the man ended up in a city shelter on 30th Street in Manhattan, but it was terrible.
After he contacted the BRC, he learned about the Fordham site, got a job, and graduated from the BRC program.
“I’m happy to hear stories like that,” Bradshaw said, about the man being able to turn his life around for the better.
However another story involved a man who’s been in and out of prison, and wants to get his life together, so he’s now an intern at the BRC.
“Mr. Rosenblatt did express that they don’t discriminate against men who have served their time,” Bradshaw said. “That’s all nice and dandy, in theory, and I believe in second chances also. But unfortunately there is that other side of recidivism and of people just not being rehabilitated. And they get to stay in these shelters and once they’re in the community they’re doing the same thing that they were sent to prison for.”
Bradshaw said what worries the residents at Fordham Oval is that the building at Landing Road is so much larger than the Bowery residents mission on Bowery Street in Manhattan.
“That in itself doesn’t sit well with us,” Bradshaw said.
The Bowery facility is near New York University, a neighborhood that has more activity. But the Fordham site is more desolate.
“We’re not used to that activity and we’re going to have so many more men,” Bradshaw said.
The Landing Road Residence will be the first project created under Mayor de Blasio’s HomeStretch Program, according to the New York Housing Conference website.
With 135 permanent units and a 200-bed transitional shelter, the project will provide 111 studios for single adults earning less than $21,175 annually, seven one-bedroom units for households of two earning no more than $34,550 annually, 17 two-bedroom units for families of three earning no more than $46,620 annually, and one superintendent unit.