School Closings, Early Dismissals

Men’s shelter housing mentally ill and criminals to close doors if funding isn’t provided by City

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MORRISANIA, The Bronx -- Pyramid Save Haven in the Bronx is no stranger to controversy and the neighborhood in which it resides has said there are countless safety issues stemming from many of the mentally ill and convicted criminals who live there.

Adding to that, officers in the area told PIX11 the surrounding streets are used as toilets by some of these men. Now it seems residents, who created a petition to get Pyramid Safe Haven closed, may get their wish -- but it's not because of the safety concerns they've raised and instead because of shoddy paperwork. As a result, about 125 men may be left back out on the streets.

Pyramid is run and operated by BronxWorks, a non-for-profit organization contracted by the City's Department of Homeless Services. BronxWorks, however hasn't received any payment for their work from DHS. A rejection letter from city comptroller's office is the reason a renewed contract and money from the city were never approved. DHS, according to the letter provided to PIX11, never provided what appears to be simple documents and explanations, such as a copy of the budget.

"We've seen nonprofits close as a result of bad contractual relationships with government," said Allison Sesso, Executive Director of the Human Services Council.

The agency acts as a liaison between various non-for-profits, including BronxWorks and city agencies. Sesso believes the back and forth between two city agencies is coming at the expense of troubled men desperately in need of this shelter.

PIX11 learned BronxWorks provided services to Pyramid since 2009, however in January, wanted to expanded and asked for an amended contract with DHS to add more beds. While DHS allegedly signed off, it did not receive approval or registration of a new contract from the comptroller's office. That didn't happen until June. The submission was rejected on July 9th and since then, Scott Stringer's office said there has been no other attempt to resubmit their request.

In a statement to PIX11, Stringer said:

“We’re are working hard to ensure that the City’s homeless shelters are safe, and that our most vulnerable citizens are protected. As part of that process we rely on the administration’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to provide us with information on a wide range of issues... In regards to Pyramid, we continue to wait for DHS to provide us with the basic information we need to register their contract, and we stand ready to provide the administration with whatever assistance they need in meeting these requirements. ”

The NYC Department of Homeless Services said,

"The work of our providers is essential to meeting the needs of our clients. We are working with diligently with BronxWorks to ensure our providers receive the proper resources they need to house our clients and provide them with the services they need."

To date, 33 DHS contracts were rejected by the Comptroller's office. Of those, 18 were rejected due to open violations, 21 were missing required inspections and more than a dozen were missing valid Code of Occupancy certificates.

"BronxWorks knows that there are many challenges associated with quality service provision to the most vulnerable New Yorkers.  We are most appreciative of the many funding collaborations that give us the capacity to have an impact.  We know that all the parties involved in the public funding process play a vital role in supporting such efforts," BronxWorks said in a statement to PIX11.