Monday, August 18, 2008


Mr. Louis let me start by thanking you on a great article and keeping the heat on the Mayor! I can't believe that they're trying to put more homeless people in the armory. The place is horrifying--I live not too far from it and the amount of drug dealing and crime in and around the place is way more than you mentioned! I know guys who exclusively sell drugs to all those homeless cats...As a matter of fact some people travel from other parts of Brooklyn just to sell drugs right on Atlantic Ave...a lot of the men in that place are there to take advantge of the lack of authority there. A childhood friend of mine, who is a career criminal, shared a lot of his experiences with me while he was staying there and said the armory is a launch pad for killers, rapists, and thieves who commit crimes and come back at night for shelter. I'm afraid if Bloomberg gets his way then Crown Heights will be the New East New York of the 80's...My mom is fed up with all the loitering and is tired of calling the cops about weird and shady people in our neighborhood...Please let us know where any protests will be! Thanks.



Friday, August 15, 2008

Concessions Made in Plan for Homeless in Brooklyn

On Thursday, Heather J. Janik, a spokeswoman for the city’s homeless services agency, said an additional intake center would be opened in Manhattan to lessen demand at the proposed Brooklyn site. She said it would open “in tandem” with the new Brooklyn intake center, at the same time that the current central intake center, the Bellevue Men’s Shelter on the East Side, closed down. The site of the new center in Manhattan, which will be open 24 hours, has not been determined.

Bill de Blasio, the city councilman who leads the committee overseeing the homeless services agency, said more was needed, including guarantees from the city about improving the armory. “I think it’s going to take a lot more before folks in the neighborhood are satisfied,” he said.

One of the local organizers, Sandy Taggart, set a higher bar, saying, “We will absolutely not accept an intake center here.”

Read the full article here.
Courtesy of the NY Times


Just the Facts - DHS's Plan Spelled Out

New York City Department of Homeless Services
Relocation of the intake center for homeless men and the opportunity for additional shelter reduction

The purpose of this document is to detail the plan of the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to relocate its central intake center for homeless men and to describe the opportunity for further shelter reductions that will be made possible due to the success of DHS’ strategies to return homeless clients to homes in the community.

To further advance DHS’ strategies to accomplish the Mayor’s goals to reduce homelessness, we are planning several new initiatives. The following points describe these initiatives and provide a set of facts related to their implementation.

• The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) intends to relocate its central shelter intake program for men from 400 East 30th Street in Manhattan to the Bedford Atlantic Armory, a site controlled by DHS in Brooklyn. This shift will provide an intake center that is smaller, safer and more service-rich.

• This plan replaces the agency’s previous effort to decentralize and privatize its intake operation. The original decentralized intake plan was formulated under the assumption that chronically street homeless clients would seek shelter if intake were more accessible. In fact, DHS has learned directly from chronically street homeless clients that intake is not a barrier to them entering shelter. These clients have chosen the street over shelter, some for many years, despite many DHS’ efforts to make shelter more accessible.

• DHS ended the decentralized intake plan as a result of completely transforming street outreach services in NYC. The new street outreach program creates direct access to housing and services for chronically street homeless clients in direct response to what these clients have requested. Employing “Housing First” and harm reduction principals, access to housing and services is through outreach workers who facilitate placement into these services. In this sense, DHS has brought the doorways to housing and services directly to the client, rather than requiring the client to seek out the doorway.

• DHS has developed 208 safe haven beds with a goal of 500 by year’s end to serve the most chronically street homeless clients who have chosen not to use shelter. These programs are smaller than shelters, have a richer array of services, and allow a client to accept services at a pace comfortable for the client.

• The evidence that DHS’ new approach to street homelessness is working is overwhelming: Street homelessness in NYC declined overall by 12% in the last year. Over 625 street homeless clients have moved into housing since the new outreach contracts got underway in September 2007. Over 500 clients have been served in the 208 safe haven beds DHS has created and over 70 of these clients have already moved from safe havens into permanent housing. This is even more remarkable given the fact that the average length of street homelessness for safe haven clients is 7.5 years.

• DHS must exit from the 30th Street facility as a result of a redevelopment plan at that site and the Bedford Atlantic facility represents an excellent choice for the relocation. The advantages of Bedford Atlantic include:
Comparable public transportation accessibility to 30th Street (the relatively small number of street homeless clients who choose to enter shelter are typically transported to intake by van by an outreach team)
Large and flexible space configuration
Currently operates as an assessment site for men and therefore the relocation will not disrupt another program use
Already well-known to homeless men

• Simultaneous with the relocation, DHS will redesign the program model for men’s intake from an entry point and client reception location to a program that provides a rich array of services to help prevent homelessness by assisting presenting clients to return quickly to housing resources in the community. The program model will include the following components:
Robust prevention and diversion model at the front door of the shelter system
Provide intensive case management and independent living plans from the moment a client enters the system
Rich array of services on-site, including relocation services, stronger and more collaborative case planning with discharging institutions, access to landlord and family mediation
Complete assessment more quickly for clients who will enter the shelter system

• A significant benefit to the community surrounding Bedford Atlantic is that the capacity of the facility will be reduced substantially: DHS will reduce the bed count from 350 to 230 beds.

• Further capacity reductions will become possible over time. As a result of a declining shelter census due to increases in permanent housing exits, we project that DHS will be able to eliminate the 30th Street shelter by June 2009. (DHS manages 650 shelter beds at 30th Street in addition to the intake program hosted at the facility.) The 600 clients served at the facility will be linked to permanent housing. If a client hasn’t completed his independent living plan by June 2009, he will be referred to another shelter to complete his transition back to the community.

• No clients currently at 30th Street will be referred to the Bedford Atlantic facility (they have already completed intake.)


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Homeless Center Roils a Brooklyn Neighborhood

Mr. Nashak said the city was cutting the number of beds in the armory to 230 from 350 and that the planned facility in Crown Heights would not be the only intake center for men in the city, although he did not specify where any others would be. The plan must be approved by the state's Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance before it is implemented.

Local politicians and neighborhood residents said the plan would increase crime in the neighborhood, harm the homeless, and decrease the value of the area's historic brownstones.

Read the full article here.
Courtesy of the New York Sun


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Homeless Intake Center Plan Provokes Broad Opposition

Community outrage at the city's plan to relocate the the homeless intake center for all five boroughs to the Bedford-Atlantic Armory in Crown Heights reached fever pitch last night at a special Community Board 8 meeting attended by Deputy Commissioner of the City’s Department of Homeless Services George Nashak and three of his staff members. In his introductory remarks, Nashak emphasized that as part of the plan to bring the intake center to the armory, Crown Heights would be benefiting from a net reduction in beds from 350 to 230. This didn't fly with the crowd...

Read the full article here.
Courtesy of