Sunset Park, Brooklyn
This is a reply to an open letter Councilman Carlos Menchaca sent to us, his constituents, regarding the homelessness that exists in Sunset Park.
Last month, residents and local leaders held a meeting at Community Board 7, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFHAWqDACEU) to discuss the homelessness situation that is impacting the Sunset Park community. Six shelters and some hotels turned shelters have appeared over the past five years, causing considerable concern to the community. These shelters and hotels turned shelters suddenly appear in the neighborhood without warning from the Department of Homeless Services.
People in the area complain that there have been break in's and drug activity since these shelters have opened. Inspector Gonzales, who runs the 72 Precinct said that his data showed no relationship to the homeless to the uptick in recent crimes in the neighborhood.
Councilman Menchaca mentions in his letter that he has concerns about how City Hall is handling, or I would say mishandling this situation. I too am concerned and want to know, why are these people here? And why are they not getting help finding jobs, places to live, or mental healthcare?
Housing and the Homeless are critical issues for me as an activist, but I believe that people that become homeless belong in their community and should not be moved to some other part of the city. It was mentioned though, in the meeting at CB7, that there are people from all over, even some from Europe, which really struck me.
We must have compassion for the homeless; remember, this is New York City, and homelessness can happen to any of us. We think life is secure, but it is not.
This city's elected officials are forcing people into the streets by adding to the effects of gentrification and allowing mass housing projects to rise with rents well above what current residents can afford. Just last week, I saw a comment from Mayor de Blasio says it's all legal. Well, make laws that make it illegal, at least add restrictions.
While our Councilman offers concerns about homelessness, it is only the symptom, not the cause. Communities have rights to this city and should not be forced out of a place that some have spent their entire lives living in. It is morally wrong. The City Council and the State Assembly must pass protection laws to keep people in their community.
Currently, I am part of a group trying to prevent the building of four towers, one a 100 story building in the lower east side. City Planning, a group of people, not elected, but appointed are impacting the lives of thousands of people that will be forced out of Chinatown and the Lower east side. Everyone in this city must stand up to the Mayor and the Capitalist developers to stop what they are doing to our city. I am not against developing. I am against displacement. But it should be the community deciding what is happening to their neighborhood.
We are losing Mom & Pop stores because greedy landlords have the right to raise rents to unbelievable heights. The City Council MUST pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act. And we as a City must force the Mayor to sign the bill he has already said he would not.
Link to Councilman's letter: Here is a link:https://www.kingscountypolitics.com/brooklyn-lawmakers-on-the-move-dec-18-2018/?utm_source=Kings+County+Politics+Morning+Newsletter&utm_campaign=848bb205b2-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_12_18_12_26&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_466a6c86df-848bb205b2-324299849