14 The Courier sun • december 11, 2014 for breaking news visit www.couriersun.com Coalition funds growing to combat ‘warehousing’ of homeless in Glendale BY SALVATORE LICATA firstname.lastname@example.org @Sal_Licata1 Though donations have slowed down in recent weeks, the Glendale/Middle Village Coalition is continuing to raise money to pay for its legal battle to block a proposed homeless shelter. The group has raised $70,000 for a fund to pay for legal fees in its lawsuit against the city on the proposed Glendale homeless shelter. “We want to make it clear that we are not against helping homeless people,” said Dawn Scala, a member of the coalition. “We are against the warehousing of them in large facilities.” Over 445 different people and groups have made donations to the community coalition. It was something that Brian Dooley, treasurer of the coalition, was proud of because of his concern with how the city handles the homeless. “We should all be very proud of this number,” said Dooley. Sal Crifasi, president of the coalition, said that donations have been coming in less and less over the past few weeks, but he remains optimistic that they will reach their goal of $130,000 as he believes the slow-down in donations of late is because of the holiday season. “We used to get about 15 checks a day coming into the office, now we are getting two or three,” Crifasi said. “But every donation counts.” Crifasi said most of the donations are coming from Glendale residents. But he wants to branch out into Middle Village as he believes the homeless shelter will affect that neighborhood just as much as, if not more than, Glendale. At this point, the coalition has spent $15,000 on the Article 78 filed against the city, which was an appeal against the Environmental Assessment the city did on the land. They will have to spend another $15,000 on this first action, which will leave them with about $40,000 to work with, Dooley said. The coalition’s members feel that the city did not take a “hard look” at the area in order to determine the impact of a homeless shelter at the site. They want a full Environmental Impact Study done. “This is a bad spot and a bad idea,” said Fred Haller, a member of the coalition who is also a lawyer. “This has been a great effort by all the groups in the neighborhood. Legal fees are expensive and we are raising a Photo by Jeff Stone lot of money.” The city has until Dec. 12 to answer the Article 78 filed against them. Haller said that the coalition, along with their attorney, are discussing further lawsuits they could bring on city, state and federal levels. “The proposed shelter is not the right answer for helping these people,” Dooley said. New bill being proposed for more community input in homeless shelter location BY SALVATORE LICATA email@example.com/@Sal_Licata1 Proposals to open shelters for the homeless would have to go through a city review process including community input under a bill that will be introduced in the state Senate. The bill, which will be introduced next session, calls for the New York City Planning Commission to work with the local community before plans for a new shelter location are finalized. The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) and has the support of state Sen. Joe Addabbo. “Our efforts against the proposed homeless shelter in Glendale has been a long endeavor, and at times it seems we are fighting an impossible battle,” Addabbo said. “I want us all to have a fair opportunity to voice concerns when it comes to what is being put into their backyards and affecting our quality of life in both the long and short term.” If passed, the new legislation will demand a homeless shelter’s operator to file notice with the NYC Planning Commission and the local community board before they go ahead and use a proposed spot. Once filed, the commission would host a community forum, followed by a 60- to 90-day review period. Following the review period, the NYC Planning Commission will either approve, modify or deny the location, or suggest an alternative site. These requirements will also, by law, stand for an existing shelter whenever a lease with the property owner is renewed or extended. Sal Crifasi, president of the Glendale/Middle Village Coalition, a group that is fighting the proposed Glendale homeless shelter on Cooper Avenue, said he was happy his local elected officials were finally taking action against the warehousing of homeless people, but he is not completely convinced the new law will be enacted. “Finally there is some transparency between the government and the community,” said Crifasi. “But I have to see the law get passed first.” Addabbo said he believes the community should always have the biggest voice when it comes to issues like this. “These guidelines require, they enforce, community involvement. This should have been rule number one from the start, but it is my hope this legislation becomes law and we can correct the wrongs of the past and make decisions more efficiently going forward,” Addabbo said. “If city agencies can work with residents at the local level, we can restore trust that may have been lost this past year.” If the bill is approved in the Republican-controlled state Senate, it would still need approval in the Democratic-controlled Assembly before going on to Gov. Cuomo for his signature. The city is under enormous pressure to provide emergency shelter for a record number of homeless. This week, the city reported 59,246 people in shelters, about half of whom are children. In December 2000, the city sheltered 23,235 homeless per night.
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