Homeless shelter sounds great here


To the editor:

I’m a resident of Marble Hill, and I can’t think of a better location for transitional housing to help families who have lost their homes. 

This neighborhood is quickly gentrifying, and there already has been a great deal of displacement and rent hikes.

Exactly how realistic was it to build “luxury” housing on a commercial strip next to the elevated train in the first place? That is beyond wishful thinking, it’s terrible urban planning. Luxury housing is the last thing this neighborhood needs.

It is utterly undesirable to attempt to convert a longstanding commercial district into some kind of Williamsburg wannabe by adding a “luxury” building with a lot of glass. This run of Broadway has seen some truly thoughtless development: A series of bad strip malls filled with useless shops that only add to the traffic jams and air pollution in this already-overburdened environmental justice community. 

More shopping malls when there is an extreme housing crisis at a proportion never seen before in this city? Where are the services the community really needs?

Mayor de Blasio’s plan to quickly implement more homeless housing is a positive effort and should be supported. This location is a great option for his program. 

It is so important to keep homeless families in the communities they come from, and to provide housing near public transit — a location where they can easily get their children to school, and themselves to jobs — where they can find local markets with healthy food, affordable clothing, and convenient medical care.

That exactly describes this Broadway location.

As a case in point, in a similar situation, “luxury” housing and hotels in Astoria that were overbuilt and empty have recently been converted to shelters, with no negative impact on the area. It’s a logical location for such housing, convenient to mass transit, in an area that has been historically industrial and commercial. 

Same as 5731 Broadway.

Community Board 8 and local reps should not only support this option for transitional housing, they should be pushing to develop a second shelter on the site of the Van Cortlandt Motel, one that is less of an eyesore and could become a model of a more humane homeless system. New shelters could even become a model for sustainable construction, making them a positive addition by use of renewable energy, solar production and passive house technologies.

I hope you will consider these comments in your decision on this building, and in the future when reviewing land use projects. I especially hope that those representatives who live in the leafier and more affluent districts in Riverdale will show good judgment, compassion and sensitivity for our less fortunate neighbors whenever considering this section of the district.

Clare Donohue

Clare Donohue