Community meeting planned for proposed homeless shelter

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Community Board 8 has had its chance to speak about a proposed transitional housing facility at 5731 Broadway, but now it’s the homeless services department’s turn.

The agency, which has a contract pending to bring 83 families to the newly constructed Kingsbridge apartment building, is hosting a community forum Thursday, Sept. 28 beginning at 6 p.m., at the Church of the Mediator, 260 W. 231st St.

The meeting, according to DHS spokesman Isaac McGinn, will bring together Bronx community leaders “from the faith, government and nonprofit sectors to discuss homelessness in New York City.”

The idea, officials said, is to provide a face for those without a home, and what can be done to get those less fortunate back on their feet.

Yet, like seemingly everything DHS has proposed in recent months, this forum isn’t without controversy.

DHS has asked someone from the community board to participate in the forum. Whether that will happen or not, however, is still up in the air. 

“These seems to be nothing more than a sales pitch for them to give more reasons why you should agree that homelessness is bad,” CB8 member Sergio Villaverde said during a recent executive committee meeting. 

“We could’ve had (this forum) a year ago, we could’ve had this a year from now.”

CB8 has opposed 5731 Broadway on the grounds the community would prefer permanent housing for these residents rather than transitional. They’ve also spoken out against the building’s developer, Stagg Group, saying they were misled into believing market-rate apartments were coming into Kingsbridge.

DHS said the meeting will include representatives from Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr.’s office, as well as those from the activist group Bronx Climate Justice North, Christ Church of Riverdale and the Church of the Mediator — groups and congregations that have expressed support of the 5731 Broadway facility in the past.

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