Shelters Coming Into the Community!

Introduction: Mayor de Blasio just announced that 90 new shelters was coming to the City and the first five are being placed in Crown Heights in both Community Board 8 and 9. This writing in about the family shelter being proposed at Rogers Ave between Crown and Carroll St in CB9.

The Facts - Table of Content!

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There seems to be some confusion about the address of the shelter, but this development is taking place at the old St. Ignatius Church location on Rogers Ave between Crown and Carroll St.  This development takes up almost half the block and it contains 165 units. 

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Developer Always Planned for Shelter!

In 2013, the developer submitted plans which called for 165 units, with an average of 600 square feet, compared to 900 square feet for prevailing market rate apartments.  Thus it appears that there was always the intention for this to be a shelter and never market rate housing because of the tiny size of the apartments!


Additionally, it is the model of market rate housing to have commercial space on the ground floor, with residential up top, if the zoning allows. This prevents people from seeing directly into apartments at the street level. However this building contains no commercial space and you can see right into the apartments at the street level.

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Get Rich Scheme

On top of the fact that these units will be one third less the size of market rate housing they will command at least 50% more in price than the prevailing rents, if it is a shelter. For example, a market rate studio in our community goes for about $1500 a month, however the developer will get $3,000 for a studio. There will be studios, one, two, and three bedrooms available, where the developer will get from $3,000 to $5,000 a month!


Additionally unlike market rate housing where the vacancy rate (apartments that are empty) can be a high as 30%, the developer is guarantee 100% occupancy of all of his units as soon as his doors open!  So you do the math! 165 units going from $3,000 to 5,000 dollars a month!  That is over $300,000 - $400,000 a month!  This developer will make about 3-4 million dollars a year! (When we get the final details we will have a clearer picture)

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Details on the Units

75% of the units in this building will be transient housing, which means families will be coming and going out of these apartments on a constant basis.  The other 25% will be permanent housing. Each unit will house one family, but there is no word as to how many people per unit. The shelter is being planned for families, which means that within a months time there could be almost 700 new people on the street with about 500 of those people being children.

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Notification to Community and Fair Share Distribution

Under the City regulations the community is only entitled to a 30 days notice.  However at the same time there are provisions in the City Charter (the laws that govern our city government) which demand that there be an equal distribution of shelters through out the city. Despite this law, it has been the continued practice of the City to place shelters in predominately Black communities.


For example, Community Board 8 residents have sited within their lawsuitWithin a three-mile radius, Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant (CB8, CB3 and CB9) are home to more homeless shelters than 11 Brooklyn districts combined.


They also sited the fact that Park Slope, the community that Mayor de Blasio comes from has a proportionally low representation of shelter beds compared to Crown Heights and Bedford Stuyvesant.
Number of Beds
Crown Heights 1,779
Bedford Stuyvesant: 1,527
Park Slope: 331


With another 165 units being planned for this shelter, and the average unit containing 4 beds there could be another 660 beds added to our community! (However this can’t be confirmed until we have the number of beds being planned).


Mayor de Blasio also stated that he was going to enforce the fair share model of placing shelters through out communities, but has instead placed the first five new opening in Brooklyn in the most heavily saturated areas. This means he plans on placing shelters where there is least resistance, or communities whose politicians will not go to bat for them.

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Political Opposition

Despite Mayor de Blasio stating that he will not back down under community opposition, when a shelter was planned for an affluent community in Queen, this proposal was dropped and the builder backed out.


In Community Board 8, which shares Crown Heights with Community Board 9, block associations and community residents filed an injunction against the City and were able to stop the opening of a men’s shelter.  Their basic argument is that the City Charter is being violated in that there is not an equal distribution of shelters through out the City. They site the fact that over 50% of the shelters in Brooklyn reside in three communities, Bedford Stuy., Crown Heights and Flatbush. The Temporary Restraining Order was granted and this shelter has not opened.

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The Developers Vulnerability

This developer will negotiate with the City, because he has already created affordable units, that can not compete with the existing market rate housing.  Because his apartments are 30% smaller than market rate housing he would lose money every month if he doesn’t fill those units. There is currently a high vacancy rate (percentage of apartments that are empty in the affordable categorise), so if the City decides that this apartment complex should be permanent housing in which they pay prevailing market rents, then this developer will go for it knowing there is nothing else!


If he doesn't get an agreement with the City. He would have several choices; lose money waiting to get market rates for his small apartments, lower his prices, or redesign his building. The best choice is for him to give the entire building as permanent housing to the City, who will pay market rates! Yes it won't be as much as a shelter, but it better than losing money!

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Political Position of MTOPP

Shelters are not the answer! Permanent Housing is the Answer!

MTOPP opposes shelters, because they are not addressing the problem, which is the need for true affordable permanent housing.  The shelter system is simply a way for developers to continue to make money off the backs of the poorest people in our communities and at the same time keep them in deplorable and unstable conditions

And we are not talking about permanent housing that comes with a massive amount of Luxury development that we can’t afford!  We are talking about rents that we can afford and places that will choose us to be housed in them.


Shelters are not that.  These are simply get rich schemes that have been in placed since the crisis of displacement has been happening.  First it was the rezoning, which helped affordable communities to become unaffordable.  Then came the storage units to remove and sell off all the possessions of the people that were being displaced.  Now the Shelters are being planned to rip off the city not with permanent housing but transient housing by getting more than double the market value for apartments.

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Lack of Support

No only are they get rich schemes for developers but there are no support services being provided, no infrastructure being proposed, when you add a large group of people in these shelters.  For example, when those 400 – 600 children come into the community they will be going into the neighboring schools,  will additional teachers be employed to accommodate this massive influx of children, NO! Will there be social services to deal with some of the trama the children have been experiencing? NO! With summer right around the corner, will there be jobs, summer programs to keep the kids off the streets? NO!

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Over Saturation

Second, as Community Board 8 has already demonstrated, we in Community Board 9 have already have our share of shelters!  We too are over saturated and they keep coming!  The State is planning shelters here and now the City is planning additional shelters.  And this will not be the end! 

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Future Shelters

Right now along Eastern Parkway, near Bedford Ave, in a site that is a C82 (which can build a small hotel) a five story hotel is being proposed.  This could be a future shelter site! Right now the money is in Shelters for developers who can’t compete with the Luxury market, which is starting to slow down, as luxury buildings vacancy rates begins to go up!


But just think how this has been planned!  First go into Black communities and rezone them and gentrify themPush out the Black Folks, take all their possessions and throw them away.  Expose them to horrible conditions and then bring them back into sub human conditions via the Shelter system! Where is the stability, where are the services No whereJust money being made and our people still being treated in inhuman waysThe Shelter system is not the answer!

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Alternatives to Shelters

In stead of the City renting these buildings they should be buying them and then renting them at reasonable rates!  They should be taking all their land and instead of selling it to developers for $1, or creating massive amounts of luxury developments, they should be building true affordable housing.  Instead of paying for shelters they should be supplementing permanent housing for the people!  That means instead of paying $3,000 for a studio, why not give $500 towards rent for a studio!  That way you can house 6 people instead of 1 and at the same time create stability in their lives!

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What Can You Do

The people have to be united in this.  We have to demand that our people be protected from the developers who are trying to make millions off of them.  Demand that de Blasio come up with a plan that will create true permanent affordable housing! Demand that money be spent to pay for permanent housing not temporary housing!  Demand that City own land be used to create 100% affordable housing based upon the income of the community in which it is in!  Demand that the City stop selling off our assets for $1.

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Come to the Shelter Hearings

Thursday, April 6, 2017 at 6 pm - 8pm at MS 161 - 330 Crown Street

It is important that everyone come out and voice their concerns.  People must get involved.  Protest does work!  People coming together!  Fighting together.  The more opposition de Blasio gets during this election year, the more he will consider an alternative, to the production of shelters as the solution to our homeless problem.