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Neighbors Uncertain About Plans For Claremont Homeless Shelter

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As the city is proposing to open another homeless shelter in the South Bronx, the news has some Claremont residents wondering what sort of men will be staying in the facility. Borough reporter Dean Meminger filed the following report.

Crews are hard at work restoring a building on Park Avenue and 165th Street in Claremont, Bronx, but not many locals knew what the building would be used for.

"I thought it was going to be a school, an extension of the school across the street," said a resident.

NY1 has found out it is a proposed site for a 200-bed shelter for homeless men, and some in the community are concerned. Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson, who represents the area, says the South Bronx area already has several social services programs.

"At what point does it become excessive? At what point is it unreasonable, when you are putting facilities in communities that are overburdened already?" said Gibson.

The proposed site is behind Junior High School 145 on Teller Avenue.

"The idea that this is so close to an existing middle school causes great concern for many residents in my community," said Gibson.

"I am sorry, you are going to have that element? That is not so good for the neighborhood," said a local.

One area father told NY1 he understood some people need help.

"This is to help somebody who doesn't have a place to live or something like that," he said

Another local, Rodderick Hatchett, knows the pain of being homeless. He now lives in supportive housing up the block from the proposed shelter.

"I was on the street homeless for a year-and-a-half in New York City and the transition from homeless to this was great," said Hatchett. "That would benefit a lot of people if they do that."

Others on the block said the supportive housing has its own issues.

"I always see cops in front of the building. I can imagine what this one is going to be like," said one local.

Gibson said she wants to make sure the community gets answers about who will live in the shelter.

"What types of backgrounds do these men have? Are they sex offenders, are they predators? Have they formerly incarcerated? What types of addictions do they have?" said the assemblywoman.

City officials said in a statement Tuesday, "Should [the Department of] Homeless Services decide to move forward on the proposal, it will notify the community, as the agency always does, in an effort to be a good neighbor."

There will be a town hall meeting about the shelter at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Junior High School 145.

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