Located at 94 Flatbush Avenue, the HASA center assists individuals with HIV/AIDS, providing support for their specific medical needs. City officials currently rent the space for the HASA center from Alloy Development, who purchased the site, bounded by Flatbush Avenue, State Street, 3rd Avenue, and Schermerhorn Street, in 2016. To make way for the 80 Flatbush project, which is currently in the ULURP process, the center will temporarily relocate to a nearby facility on 3rd Avenue on July 13, before moving into a new permanent space in Bushwick sometime next year, Brooklyn Paper reported.
While the center’s current lease for the Boerum Hill space is valid until December, officials have decided to move the center months before it expires, but did not explain why. “The city likely would have renewed it if plans for the development weren’t in the works,” a spokesperson for the Human Resources Administration told Brooklyn Paper.
A client of the HASA center told the paper that he was never informed that the facility was moving and added that he and other clients have complained about the center’s lack of communication. Council Member Stephen Levin, whose district covers the 80 Flatbush site, stated, “Communication with clients needs to be seamless, and if it’s not, that’s really concerning.”
According to the article, the Human Resources Administration informed local politicians and community boards about its plans to move the HASA center in May and will notify the clients this week.
The decision to move the facility to a location much further away and to an area inaccessible to clients is a bad idea, Jason Walker told the paper. “We’d love to see a center in a community that’s impacted by HIV, but where it’s situated it’s not as accessible, so that’s another concern for us. A lot of this can be addressed and answered with engagement.”
Walker works for Vocal New York, a membership organization that empowers low-income people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, drug use, and incarceration, and works to build “healthy and just communities.” Vocal New York is one of four locations selected to serve as supervised injection facilities, or overdose prevention centers, in Mayor de Blasio’s one-year pilot program to prevent opioid overdoses in the city.
The center’s abrupt departure from its current home seems premature as taco shop Jalapa Jar and artist Katie Merz’s mural adorning the buildings on the Flatbush Avenue side of the 80 Flatbush project were promised their spots for two years in deals made in 2017 with Alloy to fill the site’s vacant storefronts along the avenue until the proposed mega-development breaks ground.