Residents of Crown Heights are already taking the mayor to court over his plan to open a homeless shelter in the community. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
A Crown Heights building is almost ready to become a homeless shelter.
It smells like fresh paint inside. There are colorful murals on the wall. Signs are on already the doors. The rooms are full of beds.
"We plan on opening soon," said Jack Brown, CEO and president of Core Services Group. "There is no specific date. We are not really in a rush to open up. We want to make sure we get it right."
The already-controversial Bergen Street shelter in Crown Heights will house more than 100 homeless men.
The city plans to open it next week. But that is now the subject of a lawsuit from the community.
"The residents, old-timers, new-timers, new people like me, we are all united in opposition to the opening of 1173 Bergen," said Jennifer Catto of the Dean Street Block Association.
"How as a mayor can you give people just 30 days' notice to open up a homeless facility in a community that is already saturated?" said Fior Ortiz-Joyner of the Rebirth of Bergen Street Block Association. "All we are asking for is equal distribution, and we don't have that now. "
Members of the community are trying to block the opening, saying they have their fair share of homeless shelters.
As of this month, this community distr ict has room for more than 1,200 homeless individuals spread across 15 buildings.
"We have a situation of incredible oversaturation, and I think this particular shelter at this particular time really flies in the face of us being able to not have a tale of two cities," said Robert Cornegy, the local city councilman. He says he is supporting the community's lawsuit.
While the city is committed to open this homeless shelter, it is also promising to close five other sites in the district this year. That includes a commercial hotel that houses the homeless.
This is just one of the first shelters to be proposed under the mayor's new homeless plan. Eventually, the city will open up 90, hoping to keep homeless individuals closer to their home community.
Clearly, that is not going to happen without a fight.
"There is a stigma associated with the homeless population. But at the end of the day, everyone deserves a place to live," Brown said.
We will see if it is on Bergen Street.