CHCA Position on the Intake Center

Say NO
To the Intake Center at the Bedford-Atlantic Armory

CHCA is opposed to moving NYC’s only intake center for single homeless men to the Bedford Atlantic Armory.
We feel it is a bad plan for the homeless and that it will create a dangerous strain on our community.

UPDATE

The latest information we have is not good. The City is already going back on its word. We have been told that the Peter Young Shelter that DHS said would be closed as part of their proposal for the intake center is now applying to return to being a residential shelter and is asking for an increase of its current 150 bed cap.

Please do your best to attend the CB8 Housing Committee meeting to review this request on June 4, 6:30 p.m. at CNR – 727 Classon Avenue bet. Park Place and Prospect Place).

View fliers here & here

Petitions

We need about 10,000 signatures- ASAP, Each person should try to get one hundred + signatures. Click to DOWNLOAD your copies.

How to get signatures: People from any part of the city can sign.

  • leave a stack with merchants
  • bring to schools, churches and workplaces
  • stand at train and bus stations
  • go door to door
  • friends, relatives and anytone else you can think of.

Return of Petitions: As soon as you have filled a number of pages, be sure to get them back to us. Call (718)771-0787 to arrange for pick-up. We must get them back so that we can copy, tally and mail.Copies will go to: Mayor Bloomberg Deputy Mayor Gibbs Commissioner Hansell (OTDA) Commissioner Hess (DHS) Deputy Comm. Nashak. (DHS) and Marty Markowitz. Tally letters will be sent to: Bill Thompson Council Members: Tish James, Al Vann, Bill de Blasio, Senators: Eric Adams, Annette Robinson, Velmanette Montgomery, and Assembly Members: Kareem Camara, Hakeem Jeffries and others

Talking Points and Overview

Definitions

Intake Center: the first place every person new to homelessness must go to apply for shelter. It is at the intake center where the new homeless go through the initial screening process for eligibility, placement, behavioral, physical, and substance abuse, etc.

Assessment Center: One of three shelters in the NYC system where people with manageable serious issues (discovered in the screening process) live while they are evaluated and the next steps and placement for them are determined and found. The Bedford-Atlantic Armory is one of the three city assessment centers.

Overview

The City’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS) is planning to add a large intake center and a 30-bed detox unit for new homeless men to the Bedford Atlantic Armory Shelter. They plan to begin the process within the next 30-60 days. This shelter already houses an assessment center (see definitions above).

This plan is bad for the homeless and bad for the surrounding communities. The Bedford Atlantic Armory is located in Crown Heights North (and is adjacent to Bedford Stuyvesant, Crow Hill and Prospect Heights) yet more than 60% of the homeless are in Manhattan

The location of the Bedford Atlantic Armory is bad for new homeless men because:

  • Many will have to travel long distances in all kinds of weather from distant boroughs merely to apply for shelter.
  • Public transportationis too far from the shelter
  • The communities adjacent to the shelter do not have hospitals or other supportive facilities to respond to the needs of these men.
  • The reputation of the shelter at the Bedford Atlantic Armory is so bad that many of the homeless fear to enter.

DHS recently proposed placing an intake center in Manhattan in tandem with the Bedford/Atlantic site but still has not provided information regarding location, bed count, or duration of existence for said site. The current estimate is that the daily flow of unscreened, unknown men entering the community will be more than 14,000 per year. Even a small percentage of this amount is too many for our already struggling residential communities. Crown Heights North and neighboring communities simply don’t have the resources or resilience to support this and given the current economy the number of new homeless could be greater.

Why the Intake Center is a Bad Idea

  • Fair Share:
    Placing an intake center in our community is against New York City law –“Fair Share” Section 203 of the 1989 City Charter requires the fair distribution of the burdens and benefits associated with city facilities…
    Since the 1980s, a disproportionate amount of social service residents have been placed in Crown Heights North (Community District 8) and its neighboring communities. These communities are oversaturated to the breaking point. Today, Community District 8 is the most oversaturated Community District in Brooklyn. It has 6.3 times the median number of social service beds in Brooklyn.
  • ·According to the “Fair Share” law, the city’s plan to place an intake center at the Bedford Atlantic Armory does not meet the requirement to:
    1. Take into account the number and proximity of all other facilities.
    2. Provide a plan to foster neighborhood stability and revitalization by furthering the fair distribution among communities of city facilities.
    3. Site facilities equitably by balancing needs, efficiency, etc. and the social, economic and environmental impacts of city facilities upon surrounding areas.
    4. Lessen imbalances among communities in the level of responsibility each bears for facilities.
    5. Preserve the social fabric of the city’s diverse neighborhoods by avoiding undue concentrations of institutional uses in residential areas
    6. Promote government accountability.
  • Community Impact
    The proposed intake center is for single newly homeless men. Therefore most of the men entering the intake center will be unscreened. · An unscreened population will inevitably include some men with health or behavior issues that will negatively impact the community by:
    1. Undermining the safety, health and social fabric of the community
    2. Impeding the economic development needed to provide jobs and services for the people who live in the community now.
    3. Negatively impacting the community’s stability and hope for revitalization
    4. And, increasing the already large number of men loitering, panhandling, and selling and using drugs on our streets.
  • ·The DHS plan includes a redesign of the security screening at the entrance of the facility to provide better access control and detection of contraband. Obviously, DHS expects that among this unknown, unscreened daily flow of men, there will be those who require extra security measures. DHS’ plan will protect the Armory door but not our communities.
  • Our Community’s Opposition:
    In exchange for accepting the intake center, DHS offered $7M for an approximately $18M Track and Field to be developed on the drill floor of the shelter. Because of the many social, criminal and substance abuse problems presented by an intake center, the vast majority of community residents say they would never allow their children nor would they themselves use a recreational facility sited adjacent to it.
    1. In this economy, the city may not have $7M to put toward a track and field and if it does, where would our communities get the remaining $9M?
    2. No other community has been required to accept an Intake Center to get City money for a Track and Field. We must have respect. The city should unequivocally support a Track and Field for our communities.

Because of the extraordinary negative impact the City’s current DHS plan will have on our neighborhoods and on the homeless, thousands of people in our communities are unconditionally opposed to an intake center. CHRM has delivered 2,500 letters of opposition to the Intake Center to Mayor Bloomberg. The outraged opposition continues to grow.

Many of our elected officials and community organizations have jointly retained a law firm to represent the community in its opposition to the intake center. This is only one part of the effort to stop the intake center.

It will take the efforts of all of us to stop the intake center

Ours are compassionate, diverse, old-fashioned, friendly neighborhoods of churches, schools, and beautifully-tended gardens where, under the watchful care of neighboring adults, it’s still possible for children to play outside. Thousands of children reside in these communities. It is wrong to site an intake center and detox unit in their midst.

To learn more about the proposal and our opposition to it,

please visit CHRM’s web site or the blog: close it down

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