NYC Shelter Politics: Mayor Backs Off Ouster Of Community Center

Tom Boland (
Wed, 3 Feb 1999 15:55:20 -0800 (PST)
FWD  New York Daily News - Saturday, January 30, 1999
     News and Views | City Beat |


     By Lisa Rein
     Daily News Staff Writer

The Giuliani administration yesterday put on hold its eviction of a popular
Brooklyn community center it's threatening to convert to a homeless shelter.

Giuliani aides said they'll consider rescinding the eviction of the Cobble
Hill program if the City Council backs down on some of its new laws
regulating the way the city operates homeless shelters.

The two sides are to resume talks Monday, the day after Families First, a
drop-in center, was to be evicted.

"It's an optimistic sign that we're talking," Giuliani spokeswoman Colleen
Roche said yesterday.

To save the drop-in center and a senior center and community board office
that also operate at 250 Baltic St., Council leaders said they're prepared
to change some of new rules regulating the emergency intake unit for
homeless families.

The Cobble Hill building, which also houses an outpatient clinic for the
mentally ill, has been caught in a bitter crossfire between the mayor and
the councilman representing the neighborhood, Democrat Stephen DiBrienza.

To punish DiBrienza for sponsoring the bill regulating shelters, Giuliani
said he would evict the nonprofit programs at 250 Baltic St. and install a
new shelter there. The mayor two weeks ago backed off evicting the other
agencies in limbo.

Families First mobilized immediately, holding an anti-eviction rally at
City Hall and generating all-out neighborhood support. The agency hired
lawyers who this week threatened to take the city to court if Sunday's
scheduled eviction was enforced.

DiBrienza said the Council is prepared to address one of the city's main
beefs with the new homeless policy: that families seeking emergency shelter
at a Bronx intake unit be given their own rooms rather than allowed to
sleep on the floor.

The city has said building separate rooms could cost millions.

"We're concerned that children not sleep on the floor," DiBrienza said. "If
there are one or two things we can change without giving up the integrity
of the bill, we will consider them."

Mark Fuerst, president of Families First's board of directors, said, "We're
cautiously optimistic that cooler heads will prevail."

Community Center Tenants Fear Evict (01/20/1999)
Rudy Retreats, Won't Ax B'klyn Clinic (01/13/1999)
Shelter Plan Is Rudy at His Worst - Nabe (01/08/1999)


4,000+ POSTS by or via homeless & ex-homeless people
Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy