Protestors held signs and chanted in opposition to transforming the long-abandoned factory at 78-16 Cooper Ave., which developers recently filed paperwork with the city to convert into a 125-family transitional housing facility.
In the past, Congresswoman Grace Meng, State Senator Joseph Addabbo, assemblymen Andrew Hevesi and Mike Miller, and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley have all raised concerns about the shelter with Samaritan Village president and CEO Tino Hernandez.
"The rally on Saturday proved that our community is united in wanting to help our most vulnerable citizens, including homeless families,” Hevesi said. “This widely attended event shows that our community, in one clear voice, calls for a responsible and feasible plan to achieve that goal and we all agree that is not what we have before us.”
Aside from environmental concerns and the cost to remediate the long-abandoned facility, Community Board 5 chair Vincent Arcuri noted that nearby schools P.S./I.S. 119 P.S. 113, P.S. 87, St. Pancras School and Sacred Heart School, are already stressed.
“Schools are already overcrowded,” Arcuri said. “On the question of adding 125 families, that’s an estimated 325 children. They have to go to school, they have to be bussed, and you know what the traffic situation over there is like.”
He added that he is also unhappy with Samaritan Village’s policy of allowing registered sex offenders to live in the same building as children, and fears the close proximity to nearby shelters for battered women.
“That’s like pouring gasoline on a fire,” he said. “In our district we have a shelter for battered women and no one is supposed to know where that is. If 125 homeless families move in, their husbands are going to know where they are now, so it’s ridiculous.”