Gravesend homeless shelter proposal irks neighbors, elected officials
Residents, community leaders and politicians rallied in Gravesend Sunday against a proposed homeless shelter they say is bad for everyone involved.
A construction site at 137 Kings Highway is across from a library and just blocks away from schools, parks, family homes and senior centers. It's also where elected officials say the city told them, without any conversation or community input, that a new homeless shelter would be built.
Led by state Assemblyman William Colton, the protest brought together neighbors and leaders from every part of the community.
Colton saying that after learning about the shelter, he attempted to set up a meeting with city to talk about it but it was postponed at the last minute and hasn't been rescheduled.
Speakers and residents tell News 12 while they don't have a problem with homeless people, they do have a problem with the homeless shelter system - arguing it only makes matters worse.
Colton and the other speakers said that instead of investing in these shelters, the city would make more of an impact spending the money on better affordable housing, mental health services and job training for the homeless.
"“The Brooklyn community and Brooklynites from the area who fall on hard times deserve access to the types of services and supports that can help restabilize their lives with dignity, but today there are no shelters in this Brooklyn community, which means there is no way to offer shelter services and supports in this community to Brooklynites experiencing homelessness from this community," a spokesperson for the Department of Homeless and Department of Social Services says.
"This new high-quality facility, which will be the first traditional shelter in the community, will help ensure that Brooklyn communities have the critical safety net resources they need to support neighbors in need by offering 75 families with children experiencing homelessness the opportunity to get back on their feet closer to their anchors of life, like schools, jobs, healthcare, family, and houses of worship," the spokesperson says.