Proposed homeless drop-in center raises concerns
by Mark Garzon
Oct 20, 2016 | 3446 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Councilman Ruben Wills and Assemblyman Michael Miller announced Tuesday they will host a town hall for the public to discuss the city's proposal to open a homeless transitional facility and drop-in center at 100-32 Atlantic Avenue in Richmond Hill.

The town hall will take place on October 25 at Richi Rich Palace at 100-19 Atlantic Avenue at 6 p.m.

The facility would be run by homeless services provider Breaking Ground, and will provide 50 beds for adults who need a place to stay for the night. They would be forced to leave during the daytime.

The facility would also provide 75 clients per day with a hot meal and shower.

The proposed drop-in site is less than a couple-hundred feet from the High School of Construction, Trades, Engineering and Architecture.

“A facility that serves an adult homeless population simply should not be located less than 200 feet from a school,” said Wills.

Community members are concerned the lack of screening that occurs at drop-in centers for the homeless street population could lead to sex offenders using the services.

“It all depends on the kind of people they bring in,” said Diana Done, a resident of the neighborhood and parent.

Residents are also frustrated with the lack of available information and details regarding the proposal.

Elected officials encouraged Department of Homeless Services (DHS) Commissioner Steven Banks and representatives from Breaking Ground to attend the town hall next week to listen to the community's concerns.

“The press conference today is to call upon DHS to make sure the commissioner is out there next week, so that they can have representation and answer the questions from all the people in the community,” said Miller.

Despite their concerns, community members stated they were not against the homeless, just concerned with the location of the facility and the accommodations.

“We're not against homeless people, we want to help,” said Miller. “We just don't feel like putting them in a warehouse is the answer.”
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