Neighbors clash with local councilmember over housing plan to replace abandoned church

Residents say that they would like to have more input on what is brought to their community in order to keep their families safe and build a better life.

News 12 Staff

Mar 28, 2023, 2:15 AM

Updated 382 days ago

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Council Member Rafael Salamanca responded to rumors that an abandoned church property will be turned into a homeless shelter in Melrose. Instead, 407 and 450 East 158th St. will be turned into affordable housing units for veterans and New Yorkers. 
According to community members, Salamanca promised them that the church would become a historic landmark. Since then, they have learned that The Jericho Project and Azimuth Development have bought the abandoned spaces.  
“In these new buildings, because there’s 2, there will be 24/7 security. Utilities for residents to use especially veterans who seek help with underlying conditions, or even legal advice,” says Salamanca. 
Residents say that they would like to have more input on what is brought to their community in order to keep their families safe and build a better life.  
"Affordable housing is just a blanket statement they use to try to just railroad their policies,” said local resident Chris Pimentel. “I feel like its most likely going to be a shelter." 
The project is set to bring a total of 129 new and affordable units in the Melrose community. Construction for these two new buildings will start late this summer and be completed in late 2025. 


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