PARKCHESTER, the Bronx — Protesters gathered in the Bronx Monday night to fight a planned men's-only homeless shelter planned for an abandoned building on Westchester Avenue.
Residents plan to fight it, even though they say they are well aware of the city’s track record of typically getting its way, even in the face of community opposition.
The proposed shelter's proximity to a large charter school is disturbing to the school's CEO, Charlene Reid.
"We're going to stop it," she said.
Department of Homeless Services officials say they notified the community about the planned shelter, which will be operated by Samaritan Village, back in late February.
Outspoken Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. is one of the organizers of the rally.
"I am protecting the community," he said. "I am protecting the safety of our children."
He disputes the city’s position, which is that shelters are placed in communities once called home by homeless men and women.
"All the shelters are placed in black and Hispanic areas," he said. "And again, to put single men — 165 single men — I will not allow that."
Homeless Services officials sent PIX11 a lengthy statement, which reads in part: "Homeless New Yorkers come from every community across the five boroughs, so we need every community to come together to address homelessness…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.”