Residents demand solution for park vagrancy

Citizens Advice Bureau

PELHAM BAY - Pelham Bay residents say that vagrancy is still an issue in some neighborhood parks, and they want something to be done about it.

In August, some residents created a petition to remove the benches in Keane Square because they said the benches only attracted homeless people and drug dealers. However, the benches are still there, and now residents are saying that they just want to enjoy the area without the presence of the homeless.

But some homeless people say the streets are safer than shelters.

"I won't get a gun put to my head or a knife put in my back. It will happen more often in a shelter than it would out here," says David Jacko, who's been homeless for 15 years and spends time in the square.

According to Kenneth Kearns, district manager for Community Board 10, social service and outreach programs have helped a number of people in the square since August. That, according to Kearns, has allowed residents to enjoy the space more.

"We saw senior citizens and mothers with children in the triangle area over the last summer," says Kearns.

Some residents, though, think that outreach programs are just a temporary solution.

"Even if they take them and try to give them services, it doesn't mean its going to last and they come right back," says Annie Soriano, who lives in the neighborhood.

Related Information: - Citizens Advice Bureau

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