Shelters Spur Debate Among Crown Heights Jews

With plans for two new homeless shelters in Crown Heights, Jewish residents struggle to balance the injunction to care for the poor with fear of increased crime, reports the Jewish Week.

from the Jewish Week:

The Jewish religious command to welcome the stranger has been front and center in the debate over President Trump’s travel ban. Now, it’s getting a workout — with an intensely local twist — in the ongoing controversy over Mayor de Blasio’s plan to locate homeless shelters in Crown Heights, home to the Chabad-Lubavitch movement as well as a growing influx of non-chasidic Jews.

As locals hotly oppose the two new facilities — a 104-bed men’s shelter at 1173 Bergen St. and a 132-family shelter at 267 Rogers Ave. — Jewish residents struggle to balance the injunction to care for the poor with fear of increased crime.

“We have to approach this whole thing with compassion for these families,” said Eli Cohen, director of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, a social service organization representing 60 Jewish congregations in the neighborhood. That said, he is concerned with new shelters will correlate with a “high incidence of crime.”

A spokesman for the Department of Homeless Services, Isaac McGinn, said that residents received “more than 75 days’ notice for this facility,” responding to complaints that little warning was received. The city will also continue “holding public meetings to solicit input, and, where possible, making adjustments based on community feedback to ensure our facilities are seamlessly integrated into the community,” he said in an email.

Baruch Herzfeld, 45, a member of the growing Modern Orthodox community in the neighborhood, said that while he “doesn’t have a problem with the shelter,” he doesn’t trust the city to fairly distribute shelters or manage them effectively. Herzfeld’s house is around the corner from the men’s shelter set to open on Bergen.

Click here to continue reading at the Jewish Week.

4 Comments

  • 1. 75 days notice! wrote:

    “A spokesman for the Department of Homeless Services, Isaac McGinn, said that residents received “more than 75 days’ notice for this facility,” responding to complaints that little warning was received.” 2 1/2 months notice is hardly ample notice…

    Reply
  • 2. Y Mochkin wrote:

    We should learn from Williamsburg they have a designated shooll or more than one for Mair and for Lady’s which are called shelters and there is a shames people register there and when the inspector comes they are all there and then they get homeless housing and section 8 and we should learn from them there’s a way to do it for other people will need the same facilities

    Reply
  • 3. City management wrote:

    As Baruch Herzfeld says, “he doesn’t trust the city to fairly distribute shelters or manage them effectively.” Nor do I… Since many homeless have substance abuse and/or mental health issues, failure to manage the shelters properly does pose a danger to the surrounding community. Even the most compassionate person will draw the line when their family’s safety and well-being are put at risk!

    Reply
  • 4. No housing for poor jews wrote:

    In crown hts there is no housing for poor jews. There should have been a homeless shelters in crown hts for both men and women. This is really an issue. If there was we wouldnt have this problem of homeless shelters forced on us. I know of people who wanted to become more frum but were forced to leave over housing.
    Years ago there was cheaper housing. People wanted mitzvos and wanted guests for all of tishrei without being paid. I paid $50 a month and shared a basement with several women. People cared about ahavat yisroel. I was forced to leave crown hts now over no cheaper housing. What happens is all from hashem. Midah kneged midah. If we provided shelter for jews we would not be forced ti have homeless shelters for goyim. Eli cohen did nothing to help me and others i know get affordable housing.

    Reply

Leave Comment

Comment moderation is in use. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly.