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Meeting held over new men's shelter concerns on Blondell Avenue

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Community Boards 10 and 11 held a town hall meeting at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi Monday night to discuss a proposed men's shelter and mixed-use building on Blondell Avenue.

The reason why both boards were present is that the shelter is being proposed in Community Board 11, but right across the street from Community Board 10. Westchester Square has a number of shelters, but there are none in Community Board 11, according to the Department of Homeless Services.

Residents say they were already furious with the thought of Blondell Commons being built, saying that the neighborhood infrastructure can't handle the influx of hundreds of new residents potentially coming in. They say once the shelter was proposed, things got even more heated. A majority of those attending the meeting were against it, but one woman tells News 12 she was present to let people know that the homeless shouldn't be demonized and need help to get back on their feet.

DHS says the 200-bed men's shelter will be a high-quality facility, the first of its kind, that offers New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and mental challenges shelter in their home borough. They added that they will have medical and mental health services, expert clinical staff, and connections to more care in the community.

DHS tells News 12 in a statement, "Working together with neighbors and nonprofit service provider Care for the Homeless, we're confident that these individuals will be warmly welcomed—and through collaborative support and compassion, we will make this the best experience it can be for these individuals as they get back on their feet."

DHS was not present at the meeting Monday night, but told News 12 that as part of the citywide effort called 'Turning The Tide,' it had sent a letter to community boards and council members throughout the city for the last two years.

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