Crown Heights Shelter Lawsuit Dismissed

1173 Bergen Street (Photo by Nathan Haselby)

Yesterday Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Katherine Levine dismissed the lawsuit Crown Heights residents had brought against the city. The residents argued that the neighborhood was oversaturated with shelters housing homeless already.

On April 28, Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Katherine Levine extended the temporary restraining order once again on 1173 Bergen Street, prohibiting the homeless shelter from opening while Crown Heights neighbors negotiated with the shelter’s operators and the City.

This was the fourth time the opening of the shelter had been halted. The 104-bed shelter for senior homeless men aged 62 and over was originally scheduled to open on March 22.

Two block associations and more than 40 Crown Heights residents argue that their neighborhood is unfairly oversaturated with 19 homeless shelters already. They insist that their community has more than its fair share of facilities.

DHS insists that the opening of the Bergen Street shelter, as well as the recent opening of a new women’s facility at Prospect Place, would enable the agency to close cluster sites and stop the use of commercial hotels to house homeless individuals in the area.

A DHS spokesperson has said Crown Heights and its surrounding neighborhoods would see a reduction of 100 beds after the opening of these sites.

While the case has been in court, DHS has had to find alternate housing for the 104 senior men whom they intend on placing at 1173 Bergen Street, the spokesperson added.

The Bergen Street shelter is one of the first facilities in Mayor de Blasio’s plan to open 90 homeless shelters throughout the city within the next five years. DHS has announced five new shelter locations so far this year, with three of these planned to be in or near Crown Heights.

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