Tempers flare at forum over Bronx homeless shelter plan

PARKCHESTER, the Bronx — With rumors circulating that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is going to run for President, fallout from the homeless crisis, which has plagued the majority of his time in office, took centerstage again Friday night in the Parkchester section of the Bronx.

The Mayor was not present, and neither was the head of the community board, who residents say quietly gave the non-profit Samaritan Village the okay to choose a site in Parkchester for a new homeless shelter, two years ago.

"I will never lie to this community. I will not tell you that a shelter's not coming here," said NY state Sen. Luis Sepúlveda to the crowd Friday.

Meanwhile, two state legislators did their best to explain the process.

"You have many people here — black and brown people that I represent, that are homeless — and it's heartbreaking to me, to hear how these people are being described," said Sepúlveda.

It did not work.

Excellence Community Schools CEO Dr. Charlene Reid, who expressed her frustrations earlier this week over the city's selection process, took the stage Friday night. Reid echoed the community’s concerns about opening a men's shelter where level 1 and level 2 sex offenders would be allowed to stay, in a facility surrounded by several schools, and an adult day care center.

"There are other locations," Reid said Friday. "No one took into consideration that the scholars that attend this school, and attend the other school, are being put in harm's way."

Things completely fell apart when the crowd began dismissing Parkchester native and former council member Annabel Palma.

Palma is now a deputy commissioner for the agency that oversees the city's homeless services.

"We have the right to build the shelter at this site. That's as of right now," Palma said to the heated crowd.

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