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LENTOL 66 Clay Street Shelter Letter to Commissioner Taylor

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Letter to DHS Commissioner Riley.
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    632 Legislative Office Building, Albany, New York 12248 (518) 455-4477 FAX (518) 455-4599 District Office: 619 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn, New York 11211 (718 383-7474 FAX (718) 383-1576 THE ASSEMBLY Chairman STATE OF NEW YORK Committee on Codes   ALBANY   COMMITTEES   Rules Ways & Means Election Law JOSEPH R. LENTOL Assemblyman 50 th  District Kings County lentolj@assembly.state.ny.us  November 6, 2014 Commissioner Gilbert Taylor  New York City Department of Homeless Services 33 Beaver Street, 17th Floor  New York, NY 10004 Dear Commissioner Taylor: I am writing you today regarding the letter I received on November 5, 2014 outlining the opening of a shelter for 91 homeless adult families at 58-66 Clay Street, Brooklyn, NY. I cannot express strongly enough how disappointed I was to receive a letter about a new shelter opening in my district that lacked the transparency I expected from this administration. The letter provides no information as to why this location was chosen and where other shelters are being opened. I am happy to hear that the city is taking an aggressive approach to dealing with the homelessness problem, especially for families. Children do not deserve to be raised on the streets and should not have to worry if they are going to have a roof over their head once they leave school. But the placement of this shelter at 58-66 Clay Street fills me with great concerns. Yet another city administration has unfairly chosen my district, which has been saturated with shelters to house the homeless. For more than 40 years we have been our brother’s keeper, and we continue to accept that responsibility on the condition that we are not  being unfairly singled out to carry this burden. Other communities are not carrying this same burden because Community Board 1 is unfairly carrying this load. I hereby request a determination of whether or not Brooklyn, as well as Community Board 1 are in accordance with the “Fair Share” criteria established in the 1989 City Charter. Additionally, with regard to this specific location I would like some more information as to the integrity of the building. Over the years this building has received countless New York City Department of Buildings complaints. I have not been able to make a thorough investigation of the building, but the buildings violations certainly call into question the safety of this facility. I would like a complete account of what has been done to bring this    632 Legislative Office Building, Albany, New York 12248 (518) 455-4477 FAX (518) 455-4599 District Office: 619 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn, New York 11211 (718 383-7474 FAX (718) 383-1576  building up to code. There was also recently a fire at this building, and thus I would like to ensure this facility is not a fire hazard to these families. The safety of my constituents is of my utmost concern, and along the same lines I am seriously concerned about the neighboring shelter at 146 Clay Street. This shelter, which is on the same street, houses men  –   some who ought not to be close to families because they are currently under the monitoring of criminal justice agencies.  No decision on the future of this location as a New York City Department of Homeless Services facility can be made without full transparency on the criteria used to choose this site, as well as a safety assessment for the shelter  ’ s families and the surrounding community. Sincerely, Joseph R. Lentol
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