Grandmother Fined for Providing Shelter for Homeless

NY Daily News

She’s got the soul of a mensch, but a Crown Heights woman is paying the price for giving homeless people a roof over their heads.

Penniless characters have flocked to Faige Jacobson’s nondescript row house on Lefferts Ave. for the past 40 years, turning a modest two-story home into a sprawling refuge.

Cots and couches — and sometimes up to two dozen indigents — fill every room inside the Jacobson’s makeshift homeless shelter.

“I was born to take care of these people. God gave me a big heart,” Jacobson said. “Anyone who comes to Crown Heights knows they won’t be out in the streets.”

The 65-year-old mother of nine, and grandmother to about 40 grandkids, doesn’t just give out a donation-based sleeping space.

She feeds her destitute guests, washes their laundry, and even takes them to their doctor appointments.

Her adult children help pay the $2,000 monthly grocery bill offset by some kindly neighbors who leave weekly boxes of food outside the front door.

“We were brought up in an open house. We had to give up our beds to strangers,” said Simon Jacobson, 46, his mom’s oldest child and an investment banker.

However, no intended good deed goes unpunished. The city’s Dept. of Buildings has levied more than $32,000 in fines since 2005 after inspectors repeatedly found beds in the basement and kitchen, according to DOB records.

The Dept. of Homeless Services said people should be sent their way.

“Homeless families and individuals should be in settings where they can receive proper social services to reconnect them with community and return to self-sufficiency as quickly as possible and the city has an extensive network of resources to do so.”

The younger Jacobsons have begged their mom to close down the altruistic operation and adopt to a more retirement-friendly lifestyle.

But she won’t budge and her houseguests are just fine with that.

Charlie “Buttons” Nassofer, 69, has been sleeping on a first-floor couch for about two decades.

“I don’t like change,” Nassofer said. “I like doing the same thing every day.”

26 Comments

  • 1. Anonymous wrote:

    I think what she is doing is wonderful but there are ways to make things legal-get the proper permits,etc.
    Does she have enought safety exits in case of a fire?
    Would she want that on her conscience if,G-d forbid,people couldn’t get out in time if there were a fire because the place was overcrowded?

  • 3. Fresser Rebbe wrote:

    BH

    I think that Charlie Buttons could help offset some of the coast by auctioning off his overalls, and if his old pony tail is still around that could go for slot.

    In the good days Charlie was very popular because he was the one and only lubavitcher parading around with “Buttons” so it was a novelty, but now that everyone, young Bochurim ad well as respected Mashpyim are all sporting those funny looking Degel Buttons, now Charlie is no longer this great big thing, so i think sooner rather then later while the going is still good he should sell off his junk and bring in some real gelt

  • 5. must be more to this wrote:

    what business does the department of buildings have coming in to a private home? since when do we have to check with anyone who we wish to invite in to our private homes?

  • 7. Leave Charlie out of this fraccas. wrote:

    He is a living legend, a chossid of the Rebbe, one of the original `60s generation youth that directed his total koichis to sharing the Rebbe MHM ideals, even though he is not a learned man per se. What Mrs. Jacobson is doing is fine… the city is just jealous that they can`t muster up the money to get homeless off the street.

  • 8. Citizen Berel wrote:

    Mr. Anonymous is very right.

    She should ask the 24 homeless Jews to leave until she can secure the funds to bring her house up to all the codes what the Government insists are neccesary to safety.

    The homeless jews will much prefer sleeping in a park what has many fire exits for getting away from fires.

    The homlesss jews will also prefer sleeping in different cots everynight at city homless shelters.

    The shelters are very crowded, so the 24 homeless jews will have lots and lots of other homeless people what they can talk to. They will never be board becuase homeless people in city homeless shelters are very, very interesting people what love love love other homeless people what look like Charlie Button becase Charlie has lots and lots of buttons.

    The homeless jews will also be very, very healthy because they will be able to walk from the city homeless shelters everyday to Jewish neigboorhoods where they can get kosher food. They will be very happy that they no longer have to eat food provided for them where they live because they like exercise. And also having food where you live is very, very boring because homeless people prefer variety.

    And then Mrs. Jacobson will have a clear, clean conscience like Mr. Anonymous.

  • 9. She’s got the soul of a Tzadekes wrote:

    Everyone should help her get permits to do this legally

  • 10. One reward Hashem gave her was by making her oldest child a successful investment banker wrote:

    The Rebbe also said Tzedokah will bring Moshiach

  • 11. surie isaacson piladelphia, pa wrote:

    feige this is coming fom me your whole family, how dare anyone make a remark about this woman only people that live for themselves and care about themselves could say anything cruel about this woman. she is a tzedekes a woman of valour, a woman with a blind child and yet goes out of her way to help these people, this is not a shelter this is a place that people have no where to go, right b h its not us so anyone could say what they want, how about all the years she took care of her sick parents,
    and nebech her husband who was niftar recently, stayed by their side day and night, and raising her children with a son that was in a coma for months,
    and was in the hospital with all of them ,more than
    living at home anyone that has a not nice comment to make keep quiet, because it should never happen to anyone or anyones children. freige you are a special nesama and i know hashem will pay
    you back with all good things. we all love you.

  • 12. ATTENTION #2 wrote:

    What a “beautiful” (aka nasty) comment! Just out of curiosity, what will you say to Moshiach when he finally shows and thanks those guys with the “funny” yellow flags for rooting and believing in him?????
    TWO days before Tisha B’av!!!! YOU should be ashamed of yourself!!!!!

  • 13. Yishmael wrote:

    Unbridled chessed iz nisht kein derech.
    It may be lauded, where it exists, but is the Torah of Tohu, and not the Challenge of Chassidus (lifnim mishurass hadin.)

    As for the Building Dept, so long as the law is applied equally and without prejudice), they are doing what they have to.

    Perhaps there needs to be a fund-raising group of like minded people, to help this almana. The Tomchei Tohu.

  • 14. the city should buy her a house for her good work wrote:

    From an article in the New York Times about money given for housing homeless: “The city’s Department of Homeless Services pays over $3,000 a month for each threadbare room without a bathroom or kitchen to some places because of an acute shortage in shelters for homeless men and women.” Was Mrs. Jacobson getting money from the city? If not, the city should pay her fine and pay her for saving the city money. Why should she suffer for having a heart of gold?
    There are many basement apartments in Crown Heights and elsewhere in the city.

  • 16. jew wrote:

    #2 think b4 you write ,please take just one person in even if they give you some money to Help pay for some of the food ,its not a money maker its a loser. this woman makes these people feel wanted.a hot meal and a bed.everybody should help her.you are great mrs j thank you for taking in people who otherwise would have nowhere to go .

  • 17. To the people who have nothing nice to say wrote:

    Do you know Mrs Jacobson or her ”rich children” (quote from#6) do you know how much Tzedakah they give? Do you know how much she charges?(qoute from#2) And if she charges do you think the payment covers the cost of food and board? Do you know that Mrs Jacobson has a son who is blind and paralysed and that she lost her Husband this year? So please if you have nothing nice to say then keep your mouth shut especially when we are only a day before Tisha Bav (The Beis Hamikdosh was destroyed because of baseless hatred)

  • 18. The Truth wrote:

    1 She has only 33 grandchildren
    2 her children do NOT pay for her grocery bill
    3 Charlie was not there when the reporter came
    4 there are 2 exit in the basement

  • 19. Kol Hakovod wrote:

    to the Jacobson Family for helping so many people.

    Hashem should give you a tremendous reward.

  • 20. The city owes her............. wrote:

    The city owes Mrs Jacobson more than she owes them.
    The people staying at her house would not survive one day in a homeless shelter. Mrs Jacobson takes care of her residents a thousand times better than they would be taken care of in a homeless shelter. I can guarantee you that you could not convince one resident of hers to move into a homeless shelter. You couldn’t even pay them to move out of her house.

  • 21. we love feigi wrote:

    feigi jacobson is the nices person i know,caring,she will have so many blessings from hashem and the lubavitcher rebbe its crazy what this artical is saying whoever put this up should be adshamed of there self
    feigi is a tzadakes for all the genorations

  • 22. A Neighbor wrote:

    Faige and Betzalel Jacobson a”h raised a beautiful family of nine outstanding children! each of them are amazing and good hearted sons and daughters!! all reflecting the parents they come from.Faige always had a beautiful balabatish home and was constantly doing chesed for others her rome was always open and had extraordinary hachnosas orchim! she has and always is very close to her children,all she does is from the pureness of her heart!! only years later when her husband couldnt work anymore did she take in all kinds of tenants to live in her home to help with expenses,it is not a shelter however what she gives these people who have noone in this world a place to feel like home! they get much more than what they give,a woman who really really cares about them.may hashem give her only simchas and brochas in her life and may hashem reunite her with her dear husband betzalel with moshiach tzidkainu mamesh!!!!

  • 23. to #17 wrote:

    Correction to your comment – faigy does NOT have a blind and paralyzed son. He has cortical blindness (meaning he can see – his eyes work; but he cant process the information that he sees) and he is NOT paralyzed (not at all)!!! i know her son – ive visited them as well. He is NOT paralyzed.

  • 24. feigiamazing wrote:

    feigi jacobson is amazing person with chesed and kindness from here heart shes the nices person i know helping everyone she knows,whether its a stranger or someone she knows she will help them,her whole famliy is amazing,she should have blessings for life,u think hashem likes this,what people,are saying i dont think so?,feigi should be
    blessed with all the blessing she is one of a kind,and the whole jacobson famliy.

  • 25. s l p wrote:

    i imagine that the jewish world knows it is erev tisha bav. unfortunately what happened on tisha bav, churban beis hamikdosh right, right, havent we learned since that the jewish people must like each other no matter what or its going to be bad for us. anyone that is talking about feige jacobson, a tzadekes in this world should remember the churban.
    a woman who devotes her life to people all over the world, takes themm in, feeds them, makes sure they are clean, instead of them sitting on a pavement with
    100 degree weather and no food should think twice before anything comes out of their mouth. remember kamtza and bar kamtza, that started the churban bais hamikdosh. the lubavitcher rebbe ztl took in the
    jacobsons like they would be his children, if you
    talk about them or feige, you speak about the rebbe.
    he was very proud of what feige did for the poor people, i hope before tisha bav those of you that said bad things about the jacobson family, should ask forgivness and give feige alot o praise. she is the
    saint of crown heights. everyone have an easy fast
    and tisha bav should turn into a yom tov for all of us, and moshiach shoul come asap

  • 26. 668 chesed house wrote:

    I know feigi she is one of a kind caring I’ve lived at this house IT IS NOT A SHELTER its a chesed house,we love feigi and shlomi Jacobson,I am amazed what she does she should be healthy for life and happy,

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