Plans dropped for Franklin Square homeless shelter

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FRANKLIN SQUARE -

Plans to build a homeless shelter in Franklin Square have been scrapped.

The Town of Hempstead says the shelter's organizers withdrew their application to establish a shelter on the property of St. Catherine of Sienna Roman Catholic Church. The move came eight days after a capacity crowd voiced their opposition to the plan at a public meeting, with many residents citing concerns over safety, property values and overcrowded neighborhood parking.

The group Broken But Not Destroyed wanted to convert a convent at the church into a dormitory to house nine families and six single women. But critics called it a bad fit.

"It seems like we're pushing a square peg into a round hole," said William Youngfert, Franklin Square Civic Association president. "The dormitory that they want to create seems like it would be too much for that space...It was not designed to be a dormitory."

The shelter group confirmed to News 12 that it pulled the application, but wouldn't give a reason.

Nick Zuvic, a St. Catherine parishioner, lives just down the block from the church. He and other residents said that that perhaps the shelter plan would not have been met with such community pushback if the church consulted with residents sooner.

The Franklin Square Civic Association is currently conducting a survey to gather ideas from residents about filling the empty space. Some ideas include a community garden and senior housing.

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