Plan to house former Rikers inmates in Morris Park met with community protests
A plan to house critically sick and formerly incarcerated New Yorkers has been faced with plenty of protests from Morris Park residents.
Fortune Society, the organization behind bringing that facility to the Jacobi Hospital campus, launched a similar location in Harlem that they say has brought success and received great community feedback.
Stanley Richards, the deputy CEO of Fortune Society, has heard the outspoken disagreement from Morris Park residents through multiple community input meetings over the past months.
One thing that Fortune Society wants to make clear is that it is not a shelter that will be added to Jacobi Hospital, but rather will be mixed use permanent supportive housing. The Harlem location, which is similar housing, has 24-hour surveillance inside and outside the facility – which Fortune Society says will be the same at the Jacobi location.
The resources provided in these housing units are not new – resident and former incarcerated person Helen Taylor spoke with News 12 about how it helped.
“They gave me the space I needed to do what I had to do, to get clean from drugs and stay out of prison,” said Taylor, who currently resides at the Harlem location. “I needed it. I had 30 years of drugging, and I knew it wouldn’t be easy.”
Officials with the Fortune Society say that they are at least three years away from anything at Jacobi being open and operational, but they want to continue to speak with residents and show them the facilities are safe for the neighborhood.