Greenpoint Gazette
Jeff Mann
400 McGuinness Blvd.

September Opening Slated for 400 McGuinness Shelter

BY Nick Powell

After nearly two years of deliberation and community backlash it seems that Greenpoint is on the verge of hosting a brand new homeless men’s assessment shelter on McGuinness Boulevard.

The Bowery Resident’s Committee (BRC), which will operate the facility, has begun advertising upcoming career day events on Craigslist, to fill several positions, including Assessment Specialists, Registered Nurse, Nurse Practitioners and Maintenance Supervisors. The ad states that the shelter is “scheduled to open at the beginning of September in Greenpoint.”

“The program is moving ahead as it always has been very openly and transparently, open through the procurement process and the hiring process,” said Muzzy Rosenblatt, the Executive Director of the BRC. “It’s been moving ahead as it’s been openly communicated to the community and we’re looking forward to running a great program.”

The shelter has been a point of contention since it was first proposed in 2010. It was originally going to be operated by HELP USA, a non-profit organization run by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s sister, Maria Cuomo Cole, until HELP withdrew their application in February 2011, citing an inability to reach an agreement with the Department of Homeless Services on a budget for the center. A month later, BRC, which operates 27 programs for individuals in need, submitted a proposal for its own shelter in the same location on 400 McGuinness Boulevard. Despite having a new caretaker, local politicians and residents fought back, voicing concerns that the shelter would not adequately address the homeless population in the immediate neighborhood.

Indeed, Rosenblatt said that most shelters in the City for single adults and families are part of a citywide system and none of them are community-based service models. This means the shelter could seemingly be accepting homeless men from all over the city.

According to recent statistics issued by the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), of the 3,262 homeless individuals in New York City, 368 of them are in Brooklyn.

Local politicians, including Assemblyman Joe Lentol and Councilmember Stephen Levin, have long been opposed to the shelter and indicated that they would continue to resist its opening.

“I’m not going to rest until we resolve this,” said Lentol. “We have a meeting in July [with DHS], hopefully that’s not too late. We have to redouble our efforts to make sure this doesn’t happen.”

A group of local residents and businesses have taken matters into their own hands. Calling themselves the Greenpoint Neighborhood Coalition, they have hired an attorney, Andrew Stern of Tane Waterman & Wurtzel to litigate the issue in hopes of blocking the shelter from opening. Jeffrey Sitomer, a member of the coalition, said he is mostly concerned that the shelter would bring another unwanted facility to a neighborhood already shouldering waste treatment and trash distribution sites.

“[The shelter] is compounding the problem. Greenpoint already has its fair share of public facilities that aren’t the most pleasant for the neighborhood,” said Sitomer.

Details on the opening of the facility and the building itself are scarce and calls placed to the DHS were not returned. Specific dates for the upcoming career day events are not yet determined.


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  • mike:

    i like how they are comparing homeless people to huge mountains of garbage.. very nice

  • May:

    When I attended the 1st rally I walked home feeling like it was all a big show. Apparently it was. My hope is nothing will change for the neighborhood but if it does, we’ll know who sold us out (ahem… Steve Levin)

  • DH:

    So where else should the shelter be situated? There are homeless people in this city and they should be looked after. It is neglectful to not share in the responsibility.

  • April:

    It’s also important to remember that everyone in a shelter WANTS to be there. They aren’t criminals, but people who genuinely would like to better their lives in the face of all sorts of adversity (addiction, mental & physical illness). The NIMBYism from “progressive” people around this city is often pretty sickening.

  • KP:

    If it was to service all of the homeless on Greenpoint Avenue and around McGoldrick Park, I could think the homeless shelter might serve a good purpose, but this is to be an assessment center that will bring homeless from all over the city to Greenpoint and do what, assess them, what does that consist of ?, when there done with the asscessment, then what happens ?, 1) give them a room in Greenpoint ?, 2) give them a MetroCard and sent them on there way telling them you seem ok “good luck”, you can catch a bus down the block.

  • AA:

    I agree that it’s neglectful not to share the responsibility. However, there are already two places like this in Greenpoint (one around the corner on Manhattan and Clay). Also, what this article fails to mention is that this is not somewhere that men sleeping in McCarren Park can just knock on the door and be welcomed with open arms. This will be a 200 assesment center for men released from prisons. Obviously, community members have concerns and I’m personally not thrilled about this being a block away from my apartment.

  • NS:

    After reading this article I understand the backlash or a homeless shelter in Greenpoint. We do have a number of unpleasant facilities in the area and its not fair that other neighborhoods enjoy a higher class of living because our neighborhood has to provide these services. All hell would break loose if the shelter was in the Williamsburg area near the parks.
    Not to mention, Greenpoint is finally enjoying a “Renaissance” if you will. As a kid growing up I didnt realize it, but drugs were prevalent in the area. I’m not trying to make negative stereotypes, but that is the concern with this shelter. People from all over the city come and drugs begin to spread.

  • gpres:

    We have too many problems with the homeless in Greenpoint and this will cause more problems. Im with the residents of Greenpoint and will not let this shelter open.

  • Fg:

    This may have been easier to swallow if our elected officials showed interest in helping this part of the neighborhood with promised parks, or curtailing speed on McGuiness. Yet this Shelter is guaranteed government money for the owner, and there is only one way to make sure that occurs.

  • GH:

    Actually, just discovered that they may have not gone through the proper process to legalize the building from a manufacturing use to a homeless shelter. Developing…

  • GNC:

    As stated above in comments #5-7, this will inevitably cause harm to the neighborhood. After the 30 day “assessment” period, what is going to happen to these people? They are coming straight from Rikers Island, mental health facilities, and many are/were drug addicts and criminals (think rapists, murderers, thieves, etc.). After this 30 days they will be released to the streets and many will have nowhere to go. I do not want them living on the streets right near where I reside. I am worried for my family, as I should be.

    To help attempt to prevent this from occurring, please help donate to the legal battle. We need to keep our wonderful neighborhood a safe place to live.

    Donation information at

  • IC:

    Is there anyone in Greenpoint that cares for humanity? No one has even commented on how to help the homeless. I’m sure you would prefer sending them to the Bronx, East New York, Brownsville. Instead of holding “fancy galas” for a POOL, why not fundraise for more preventative services, social services, affordable housing for the homeless.

  • concerned resident:

    Why not put an all-male homeless shelter on Park Ave? Or by City Hall? Or upstate by Cuomo? Or by his sister’s house? Or by any of the residences of the officials backing this program? Why are there now TWO all-male homeless sheters in Greenpoint (the other being 300 skillman ave some 15 blocks away). As someone who grew up in Greenpoint/Williamsburg back when Ed Koch dropped off over 1000 men into the homeless shelter in the 1983 at 300 Skillman, I can tell you EXACTLY what happened literally overnight to this neighborhood and what still happens to this day by and around this shelter:

    Fear of sexual assualt and rape by convicted sex offenders, robbery, home invasion, drugs, crime, public urination and defecation on private residences, loitering, public use of drugs and alcohol, the housing of convicted child molesters and sex offenders, and the harrasment of neighbors who live in and around a five block radius. Why? Because they are both transitional male shelters (meaning a lot of their members just got out of prison and/or are passing through). They are NOT from this neighborhood. So what happens? The route they take from the subway or bus to get to these shelters become free reign to hang around (cause many of them don’t even like staying in the shelter until bedtime). And the curfew and guards are a JOKE. People come into and out of the shelter at all times.

    So what do they do? They drink and hang out on the neighboring blocks surrounding the shelter. Sitting on people’s stoops, their gates, harrasing women as they walk by, and allowing many people who are not even homeless or in the shelter, to visit or hang out or deal drugs as they visit in and out. It is RIDICULOUS to think that introducing 200 transient vagrants many of whom have addiction, mental and criminal pasts into an area will yield POSITIVE change. For whom? Wake up people. This very paper detailed the concerns of residents by the homeless shelter a few months ago. Enough is enough.

  • Nancy Corrado:

    We already have our presence in Greenpoint for the homeless. How does a legal case pending help as it already has beds inside

  • Michelle:

    If people don’t like it, why don’t they just move to another neighborhood. Probably most of the people complaining have been in the neighborhood for under 4 years. What makes them feel so entitled to dictate who lives down the street. Unless they can buy out the land, they don’t have a right to protest who lives there.

  • jaime:

    Im homeless and need help with housing. I have a job

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