Community board rallies against rehab service coming to Longwood

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LONGWOOD -

Some Longwood residents say they are against the possibility of a new nonprofit rehab service coming to the area.

Light of Hope Services plans on providing housing and supportive services for low-income individuals dealing with homelessness, substance abuse, HIV and AIDS, and mental illnesses.

Community Board 2 members stood alongside Councilman Rafael Salamanca Jr. at the intersection of Dawson and Intervale avenues Wednesday in protest.

"When you have methadone clinics back to back, needle exchange programs back to back, when you have shelters lined up on the same block back to back, you are going to get exactly what you get on Third Avenue and that is an oversaturation," says Salamanca.

That so-called oversaturation has frustrated residents and other organizations operating in the area.

Salamanca says there are over 40 shelters serving the South Bronx and residents fear adding another one could be a safety issue.

Community Board 2 met with Light of Hope Services but both parties say there was no progress in the meeting.

A spokesperson for state Sen. Luis Sepulveda tells News 12 that he has met with Community Board 2 and Light of Hope Services. "While the senator recognizes the need for rehabilitation centers in our South Bronx community, he has made it clear that he could only support this specific project if they had the support of the local community and community board. In this case, it does not, and therefore cannot support the project at this location."

The director of Light of Hope Services claims she hasn't been given a fair shot to present her project. She tells News 12 when given the opportunity, she was constantly interrupted. She also says this is a residential treatment program, meaning participants won't be coming in and out of the building. She adds that it will be staffed by nurses and security 24/7.

The community board says ultimately the state's Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services will make the decision on Light of Hope Services' new location in Longwood. News 12 reached out to the office and is waiting to hear back.

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