Bensonhurst community continues protest of proposed homeless shelter

Throughout the process, they have pointed out that, at the moment, the area does not have a single shelter in it of any kind.

Greg Thompson

May 23, 2024, 9:16 PM

Updated 21 days ago

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Following rallies outside the proposed sited of a 150-person homeless shelter near the corner of 86th Street and 25th Avenue in December and March, demonstrators took the fight to City Hall on Thursday morning.
Filling the steps and lining the fence outside, state Assembly Member William Colton said "we wanted to show how strongly people feel. There are thousands of people here"
Many of them likely are among the 52,000 people that Colton's office tells News 12 have signed a petition against the shelter, which would be across the street from the 25th Avenue D train subway station, a variety of businesses and within five blocks of multiple schools.
Eli Liula, who lives near the site, said he worried "the homeless shelter looks bad for the kids, looks bad for the kids, looks bad for society, looks bad for the school."
His neighbor, Eliga Zhang agreed, saying she was at the demonstration because "we want safety for our community, for our children."
The New York City Department of Social Services says the shelter will have security from at least eight people on duty at all times.
Throughout the process, they have pointed out that, at the moment, the area does not have a single shelter in it of any kind.
"When there's something that's bad, you don't spread it all over," Colton told News 12 in response to that.
City Council Member Susan Zhuang also pushed back on the idea that the area needed it, claiming "people had the issue, some non-profits helped them to get job training and find the jobs. We resolved the issue internally already, that's the reason we don't have a homeless shelter there."
Demonstrators say that is another part of the argument against the shelter, which "does not help homeless people," according to Colton. "This creates more homelessness. This is a business."
Zhuang and many in attendance agreed, saying that a better use of money would be to build more affordable housing.
The city disagrees with how they view they shelter though, saying it will offer "critical resources" like mental health services and dedicated case managers, which aim to help the homeless in the area get job training, and assistance to transition into permanent housing.


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