Greenpoint residents have rejected a proposal for a homeless men’s shelter on McGuiness Boulevard for the second time in less than a year. Last summer, HELP USA announced plans to turn a four-story structure on McGuinness Boulevard into a 200-bed shelter, but retreated by February, citing budget problems. Many in the neighborhood, though, took the backtrack as a victory for the vociferous popular and political opposition, which had plagued HELP those six months.
But news comes this week that another organization, the Bowery Residents’ Committee, has issued a new-but-the-same proposal to convert the building into a 200-bed homeless men’s shelter that once again has residents livid: 150 neighbors—significantly more than the 20 who recently opposed a proposed bazaar—showed up at a recent meeting to voice their concerns to Bowery’s executive director, the Brooklyn Paper reports.
Greenpoint residents have understandable concerns, including that they don’t want hundreds of shady-looking recovering drug addicts in a place near where their children are. Of course, that argument applies to anywhere, but try to accuse Greenpoint residents of NIMBYism and you’ll get two responses: one, that they aren’t opposed to a homeless shelter, but that they want one to service the significant population of local homeless—not those bussed in from Bellvue by a Manhattan-based organization; two, that the neighborhood already has a bum deal, from its wastewater treatment plant to its oozing, subterranean oil deposits.
Not every one buys these arguments. “I don’t think Greenpoint is as overloaded on social services as Crown Heights or especially East New York,” writes ‘Murry from Crown Heights’ on the Brooklyn Paper‘s website. “I don’t equate sewage treatment plants and bridge construction to social service programs.”
Another commenter accuses residents of playing up the neighborhood’s downsides in order to keep out new residents. Hmm, maybe. Greenpoint does seem to hate outsiders.