Thousands flood City Hall steps to oppose proposed NYC homeless shelter

More than 2,000 New Yorkers incensed over the town’s plan to construct a homeless shelter of their south-central Brooklyn neighborhood descended on City Hall Thursday to voice their opposition to the proposal.

The residents, many brandishing indicators and American flags, expressed fears the deliberate 32-room shelter — designed to accommodate up to 150 grownup males — will grow to be a magnet for medication, crime and different hassle when it opens later this yr.

“They are dangerous and they always walk around and just come into the store and grab things without saying anything, and you don’t know if they have mental problems,” Susan Zhou, 35, a neighborhood pharmacy employee advised The Post.

A large crowd of demonstrators lining the steps of City Hall in Manhattan, many holding signs and American flags.
More than 2,000 residents jammed the steps of City Hall in Manhattan Thursday morning to voice their opposition to a proposed homeless shelter in Gravesend, joined by elected officers. Haley Brown / NY Post

“They’ll be walking on the street and hit people. They can hit you for no reason, it’s so dangerous.”

Leading the efforts had been Assemblyman William Colton (D-47), and Councilmember Susan Zhuang (D-43), opponents of the plan who organized the rally, which grew so huge it spilled over into City Hall Park.

The new shelter being proposed for 2501 86th St. and twenty fifth Avenue in Gravesend can be constructed as a lodge, full with a neighborhood heart, after which contracted by the town, Zhuang mentioned.

Zhuang contends that the town jammed the plan by way of with out consulting its neighbors.

“The city wants to put it in our community without talking to us. Without giving us any information. They just want to do whatever they want.” Zhuang mentioned.

A NYC Department of Social Services spokesperson denied Zhuang’s declare in an announcement to The Post, saying that they first notified the neighborhood in November, 2023.

“As we have always done, we will continue to maintain open lines of communication
with the community and remain committed to ongoing engagement as we work collaboratively to support our neighbors in need,” the assertion learn partially.

Colton mentioned placing the homeless shelter within the neighborhood can be unhealthy coverage.

“I don’t want to hear arguments about how, ‘oh we have to share everything in the city.’ You don’t share evil things. You don’t share bad policies. You change them. You stop them and you change them,” he mentioned.

Colton mentioned the developer of the property, who he recognized as Tejpal Sandhu of 86th Street NY LLC, was working with the town strictly to line his pockets with no regard for the neighborhood.

“He is simply making money for himself. He has proven again and again that he disrespects the community. He disrespects the Building Department.”

The two lawmakers — joined by throngs of neighbors and demonstrators — beforehand rallied in opposition to the shelter plan in March. A petition in opposition to the undertaking has already garnered greater than 60,000 signatures.

Group of protesters on the sidewalk near City Hall
Protesters lined the sidewalks as they marched to City Hall, the group rising so massive it spilled into close by City Hall Park. Haley Brown / NY Post

Zhuang and Colton each referred to as the shelter a “human warehouse” that solely serves as a band-aid on the town’s homelessness disaster.

“We need mental healthcare, we don’t need warehousing,” Zhuang mentioned.

Councilmember Bob Holden (D-30), who additionally opposes the proposal, noticed the consequences in his district first-hand when the town erected a 200-bed homeless shelter residents didn’t need below former Mayor Bill De Blasio.

“It’s a one-building crime wave,” Holden mentioned of the shelter at 78-16 Cooper Ave. in Queens.

Residents on the rally advised The Post they, apprehensive the shelter would negatively affect the neighborhood whereas failing to handle the wants of the homeless inhabitants.

“It’s a thriving community,” mentioned Vinny Laporta, an Italian American who has lived in the neighborhood for 65 years.

“We don’t need a homeless shelter, we need more affordable housing. That shelter is in a congested area, four train stops, five bus stops, schools and churches. It would do harm to the homeless and the community,” Laporta mentioned.

“You gotta stay conscious for your city.”

Assemblyman Colton and Councilmember Zhuang mentioned that though there’s a cease work order in place on the property, Sandhu has “been caught” trying to do work on a portion of city-owned sidewalk with out the suitable permits.

These alleged incidents occurred proper as Lunar New Year started, and on Saturdays, the Jewish Sabbath, when development work is mostly prohibited. Both occasions, the officers mentioned, he was thwarted “thanks to the vigilance of the community.”

Sandhu couldn’t be reached for remark by cellphone or e mail.

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