Sunset Park Residents Upset Over Under-the-Radar Homeless Shelter

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    Sunset Park residents are upset over a homeless shelter that is allegedly operating out of a Sleep Inn Hotel in the area, apparently without any formal notice to the community. This letter from a nearby resident was posted on several private Internet groups, and a Brownstoner reader forwarded it to us.

    Very Upsetting News

    Last January we started getting word of homeless living in the Sleep Inn Hotel on 49th between 2nd & 3rd Avenue. As the Spring came, complaints of homeless men or vagrants in Sunset Park (the park) and the playgrounds on 3rd Ave increased.

    By June we knew that the Forbell Shelter in East NY was putting men in the hotel. I’vebeen spreading the word and filling Freedom of Information Law requests since then.

    I was told that these men were 2nd level – work ready or ready for independent living But yet we had photos of them falling down in the gutter blocking traffic until the police and EMS arrived or nodding in doorways on drugs. We then found out we were lied to – these men had not even been screened. They were overflow that there was no room for and had not been processed.

    The Dept of Homeless Services refused to give us numbers or tell us if other hotels in Sunset were being used or in other communities.

    But today – the explosion of info came at a meeting.
    1. 100 homeless men are housed in the hotel and it will go up to 150
    2. The hotel is now NOT a hotel but a homeless shelter for men (although websites were still taking room requests as of 4pm today).
    3. We demanded that they take care of our homeless before outsiders – they said they couldn’t. (the truth is they can)
    4. The police were upset, Lutheran Medical Center was upset – in general everyone was upset.
    5. No other Sunset hotel is used for this.
    6. No other neighborhood has this – only us.

    I am very upset that I’ve been telling Carlos & Felix about this in writing since June and they said on Monday they only heard of this a few days ago. Your elected officials need to be contacted and told you do not accept this – once again Sunset Park helps the entire City and we get NOTHING.

    If this cannot be stopped, we must demand two things
    1. A 24 hours 3 person team housed at the hotel ready to go out on a moment’s notice when a community person reports a problematic homeless person.
    2. We need to get some benefit in return for our “service” – more funding for the police so that we can have maybe 5 beat cops for our community.

    If you agree – please take it upon yourself to write or call your elected officials about this.

    Update: The city has confirmed that the hotel will be turned into a 150-man homeless shelter.

    [Photo: Via Yelp]

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