Sunday, August 14, 2016

Assemblyman Dinowitz and Council Member Cohen Announce Defeat of Proposed Shelter in Wakefield

    Council Member Andrew Cohen and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz announced today that following their strong opposition, and the fierce advocacy by local community leaders, the plans for a proposed shelter on the northern end of Bronx Boulevard are dead.

       The plans for the proposed shelter, which originally planned to house 90 individuals who are diagnosed with HIV, were proposed by the non-profit organization Comunilife, and faced considerable opposition from members of the community. Assemblyman Dinowitz and Council Member Cohen held several meetings with both community leaders and Comunilife representatives over the last several months, to express their concerns regarding the oversaturation of shelters in the Wakefield community. Just four blocks from the proposed Comunilife shelter already stands the Project Renewal homeless shelter, which houses 100 single men, and around the corner is the site of the proposed Muller Center homeless shelter, which plans to house over 200 single men.
      On June 27th of this year Assemblyman Dinowitz and Council Member Cohen held a town hall meeting at Community Board 12 where they voiced their strong opposition to Comunilife’s plans, and were unanimously joined by community members and leaders from all over Wakefield. Following the town hall meeting, Mayor de Blasio’s administration determined that the proposed location would not be appropriate. 
“I am thrilled that I was able to help stop this plan for 4747 Bronx Boulevard by working together with Council Member Cohen, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and Mayor de Blasio’s administration,” said Assemblyman Dinowitz. We stood together with our Wakefield community and listened to their concerns. The local elected officials, Community Board 12, and neighborhood leaders worked together and had a significant impact. I am grateful that Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Banks heard our voices, and I thank Speaker Heastie for his leadership on this issue. Now we must all work to ensure nothing inappropriate is ever brought to that site.” 
“This news is a win for the Wakefield community. While we need to do more for the homeless, the Wakefield community is already oversaturated with numerous shelters currently operating in the neighborhood,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen.  “I am pleased that the Mayor listened to the local elected officials and community leaders and made the right determination that this facility is not appropriate for the community.” 
Department of Social Services Commissioner Steve Banks said, “After careful consideration, we have determined that 4747 Bronx Boulevard is not a viable location for a temporary residence or shelter facility. We thank Speaker Heastie, Council Member Cohen, Assembly Member Dinowitz, Congress Member Engel and their staffs for working collaboratively with the administration and we look forward to identifying alternative uses that will effectively meet the community’s needs.”

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