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Shelter Notice Bill Gets Area Sponsor

State Legislation On Placement

Hoping to make the homeless shelter opening process more transparent, State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo announced he would soon sponsor legislation requiring greater public input and review.

Throughout the course of this year, the people in Addabbo’s district reportedly have experienced several new community issues, including newly-opened and proposed homeless shelters in the middle of their neighborhoods.

With the 2015 legislative session to open in Albany next month, Addabbo announced his support of a bill (S. 7956), to be introduced next session, which calls for the New York City Planning Commission to work with the local community before plans for a new shelter location are finalized.

Currently, city guidelines and the homeless crisis allow the mayor’s administration to choose a location for housing facility or social services center without the requirement of considering a community’s input or consent.

“Our efforts against the proposed homeless shelter in Glendale has been a long endeavor, and at times it seems we are fighting an impossible battle. I want us all to have a fair opportunity to voice concerns when it comes to what is being put into their backyards and affecting our quality of life in both the long and short term.” Addabbo said. “The shelter in Rockaway at the former Daytop Village center on Beach 65th Street, came about with little warning, with much confusion, and we barely had time to catch our breath.”

“I understand there is a need for living facilities for the disadvantaged, but the local community deserves notice and a chance to have their concerns heard,” the senator added.

Under the legislation, sponsored by State Sen. Jeff Klein of the Bronx, before any such facility can be established in New York City, its operator must file notice with the NYC Planning Commission and the local community board. After filing, the commission would host a community forum, followed by a 60- to 90-day review period.

The City Planning Commission will then approve, modify or deny authorization for the location, or suggest an alternative site. The application’s sponsor will then be precluded from reapplying for two years.

These requirements also stand for an existing shelter when its lease is renewed or extended.

“These guidelines require, they enforce, community involvement. This should have been rule number one from the start, but it is my hope this legislation becomes law and we can correct the wrongs of the past and make decisions more efficiently going forward,” Addabbo said. “If city agencies can work with residents at the local level, we can restore trust that may have been lost this past year.”

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