KENSINGTON/DITMAS PARK – The city needs homeless shelters and the latest one is slated for the border of Ditmas Park and Kensington.
The former Park Manor Adult Home is being renovated into a shelter that will provide 139 beds for single men. The shelter may open as early as January and most likely by the Spring, and will be operated by Black Veterans for Social Justice (BVSJ), a Bed Stuy-based nonprofit that operates another transient housing facility on Willoughby Avenue, Department of Homeless Services (DHS) tells Bklyner.
“Homeless New Yorkers come from every community across the five boroughs, so we need every community to come together to address homelessness. This high-quality facility will be the first of its kind in this Community District [Community Board12], offering 139 men from Brooklyn the opportunity to be sheltered in their home borough, closer to their support networks and communities they called home as they get back on their feet,” Arianna Fishman, deputy press secretary at DHS told us.
“Working together with neighbors and nonprofit service provider Black Vets for Social Justice we’re confident that these individuals will be warmly welcomed – and through collaborative support and compassion, we will make this the best experience it can be for these individuals as they get back on their feet.”
What Fishman is referring to is setting up a Community Advisory Board for the shelter – which the city does 30 days after a shelter opens to deal with issues brought up by the community in the interim and to address going forward.
This is the 24th shelter that has been announced under the “Turning the Tide on Homelessness in New York City” plan that the Mayor announced in the Spring on 2017. The plan envisions opening 90 borough-based shelters.
Pursuant to the Turning the Tide Plan, DHS provided the “at least 30 days’ notice” of proposed shelter opening to local elected officials and Community Board 12 on October 23, 2018, for what the DHS says is an anticipated Spring 2019 opening.
Based on the track record of opening the 17 shelters currently operational, DHS “provided no less than 30 days’ notice and a combined average of approximately 80 days’ notice regarding the opening of these locations”.
We reached out to BVSJ but did not hear back, however, here is how the new 139-bed shelter at 570 Coney Island Avenue (just south of Beverley Road) will work, according to an email we received from the DHS :
- Black Vets for Social Justice will provide an array of on-site services and off-site service linkages, providing individuals with the support that will help them stabilize their lives by returning to and maintaining independent living.
- On-site services will include case management, housing placement assistance, health services, screening/assessment/interventions for substance use challenges, and recreational and employment services.
- Off-site service linkages will include primary healthcare, health/mental health services, substance use treatment, vocational training, employment placement, GED instruction, conflict mediation, and legal services. Black Vets for Social Justice will also work with CD12, local elected officials, and neighbors to facilitate employment opportunities for people living in the neighborhood.
- Additionally, a secure and safe environment is critical to the success of any program facility- and the NYPD works directly with DHS to oversee security in all shelters, including this one.
- Black Vets for Social Justice is providing on-site security around-the-clock. At least two security officers will be located at the site’s entrance to control building access and to monitor security cameras, which will be located throughout the building and grounds. There will be a minimum of six security staff per shift and one supervisor overseeing security staff per shift.
- Black Vets for Social Justice will provide a 24-hour open line for the community to provide feedback in a timely manner and to immediately address any concerns that may arise.
- As an added measure, at least 80 security cameras will be installed throughout the building and across the shelter grounds. These cameras allow security officers to continually monitor compliance with house regulations and good neighbor policies both in and around the facility, acting as a deterrent for inappropriate or illegal activities. Recordings will be made available to authorities in the event that arrests or prosecution are warranted.
- There is a 10:00 PM curfew. Clients who are employed with late work hours will receive passes to return to the facility after curfew based on their documented work schedule.
The adult home that this shelter replaces was cited repeatedly by the New York State Department of Health, including for overcrowding, and at peak occupancy seems to have had about 60 residents.
While the Department of Buildings initially disapproved of plans to convert the 19 rooms into 27, it seems permits have now been issued and work is proceeding.