As the mayor tries to move ahead with his plan to open 90 new homeless shelters across the city, he's hitting an early legal roadblock at one planned location in Brooklyn. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
The halls of Brooklyn Supreme Court were crowded on Tuesday.
Crown Heights residents were there to plea their case in front of a judge, hoping she would continue to block the opening of a men's homeless shelter in their neighborhood.
"We've been saying there are communities that have zero beds, and the common denominator with these communities is they are affluent, they are powerful and they are non-minority," said Fior Ortiz-Joyner of the Rebirth of Bergen Street Block Association.
The judge agreed. She blocked the opening of the shelter at least temporarily. She is not likely to revisit the decision for 10 days.
At issue is whether the neighborhood has its fair share of these facilities.
"If you look at the facts, Crown Heights has become a dumping ground," said Jacqueline McMickens, attorney for the plaintiffs.
The city was supposed to open the shelter last week. It is slated to house 104 single men over the age of 62.
Residents oppose the facility because they say their community is already oversaturated with homeless shelters. They argue the city did not do the proper review before it picked the site and prepared it to open.
Bolstering their argument, in court on Tuesday, officials revealed the city had just finished this formal analysis the day before. In it, the city examines all of the facilities in the surrounding community.
According to this analysis, there are six facilities within a half mile of the new site, including a shelter for singles, for adult families and four facilities for families with children.
Ultimately, it concludes this proposed men's shelter fits within the context of the neighborhood.
Throughout the hearing, the judge continued to ask city lawyers why the mayor's plan is initially targeting Crown Heights. She wondered why aren't there shelters being built in places like the Upper East Side and Carroll Gardens.
The city plans to fight on. A spokesman sent a statement that read, "We are undeterred in our commitment to opening this site so these seniors can be sheltered closer to the community they called home. We are exploring all of our legal options, including an immediate appeal."