Bushwick Neighbors Issue Cease & Desist Letter to DHS

DHS 'Has Failed to Complete the Legally Mandated Reviews Regarding the Shelter'

Mandatory Fair Share Analysis, State Environmental Quality Review and City Environmental Quality Reviews Have Not Been Conducted

Neighbors Call on Mayor Bill de Blasio, DHS Deputy Commissioner Annabel Palma and City Council Representatives Antonio Reynoso and Rafael Espinal To Explain Exemption of Wyckoff Ave Shelter From Review

(Bushwick, Brooklyn - August 27, 2019) Members of Bushwick Neighbors United, a grassroots group of Bushwick residents, have issued a cease and desist letter to New York City's Department of Homeless Services due to the agency's failure to complete 'legally mandated reviews regarding the shelter, including but not limited to a Fair Share Analysis and environmental reviews under the State Environmental Quality Review Act and the City Environmental Quality Review.’

The letter demands that DHS and any contractors cease and desist all work on the shelter at 97 Wyckoff Avenue in Brooklyn. In the event that DHS does not comply with the request, the letter said "We intend to pursue all legal rights and remedies in court or otherwise."  

“These studies should have been conducted prior to the establishment of the shelter.  While we are all in favor of the most humane and effective ways to help the homeless stabilize their lives, without seeing results of the city’s fair share analysis and the fact that 2 shelters are already within blocks of 97 Wyckoff Ave, we’re concerned that our neighborhood is getting more than its fair share of shelters,” the group said.  

The full letter is available upon request at info@bushwickunited.com and was sent on behalf of those living in the immediate vicinity of the planned 80 bed men's shelter at 97 Wyckoff Avenue.  

The site for a new 80 bed men's shelter in Bushwick has raised numerous concerns of neighbors since first learning of the city's plans in the spring.  

In May, Bushwick Neighbors United called on City Comptroller Scott Stringer to review the "excessive $33M price tag for the men's shelter," breaking down to $7,000 of taxpayer funds spent per month per bed -- the same price for a furnished penthouse apartment in other parts of Brooklyn.   

The group has pointed to the fact that Bushwick already has more than its fair share of shelters - and this will be the 12th shelter in Bushwick.  

Floorplans reveal preparations to house 5 to 6 men in each room in what appears to be a cramped building.  

As of April, the building had two unresolved construction violations from New York's Department of Buildings since Jan. 30, 2019, including for work on gas piping and gas lines.  At the time, Bushwick Neighbors United called on the city to place a stop work order on the site immediately until the violations are resolved, saying the unresolved gas violation presented "a clear and present danger for the neighbors nearby.”    

The building has had a history of violations over the years ranging from 'work without a permit' to 'failure to provide an approved construction plan.' 97 Wyckoff has had a history of additional building violations raising questions about the suitability of the building as it exists.  

The building was purchased in late 2018 by Acuity Capital Partners, whose CEO is Elliott Neumann.  Core Services is the vendor that is contracted to operate the shelter for the city for $33 million over 5 years.

Violations included an April 17, 2014 violation that remains open for “failure to maintain exterior building wall” that described the facade on the ground floor as “bulging.”  Click here to see the full history of violations.  

Bushwick Neighbors United called on New York City's Department of Buildings to inspect 97 Wyckoff Avenue as part of its enforcement sweep of construction sites across the city that was announced on April 15, 2019.

In April, parents of schoolchildren who attend three schools within blocks of the shelter site raised security concerns.   Read the press release here

Concerned neighbors should call 311 to register any complaints about construction at 97 Wyckoff.  

For more information, follow @BushwickUnited on Twitter or sign up for alerts at BushwickNeighborsUnited.com.  

Contact:  Info@bushwickunited.com