Monday, October 9, 2017

Coler Hospital Rep Tells RIOC President No Plan For Homeless Shelter Or Halfway House At Roosevelt Island Facility

A message was posted on the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network last Friday expressing concern that a homeless shelter or halfway house may be opening at Coler Hospital

without the Roosevelt Island community being informed. The message was forwarded to me with request to find out what was going on.

I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Susan Rosenthal if there was any plan to open a homeless shelter or halfway house at Coler Hospital. Ms. Rosenthal replied:

I reached out to my contact at Coler and was told no such plan exists.
I also asked Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Ben Kallos about the matter. Mr. Kallos said that they are reaching out to the appropriate NYC agencies for more info.

This was the message posted on the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network last Friday:
Dear RI Parents' Network,

We are writing to share information which has come to our attention with you because it may be of interest or concern to you. We have learned that the organization Barrier Free Living,, will be opening a homeless shelter or halfway house on the premises of Coler Hospital by January 2018, if not earlier. Apparently, this shelter will provide residence and services to a population that may include ex-convicts, and possibly violent and/or sexual offenders, and substance abusers. As far as we know there has been no public information disseminated to our community. However, this is not a mere rumor. We were informed of this by a professional who works with this population and is having his/her position transferred to the new site in January.

We have left messages for the following people and agencies to acquire information about this issue and receive official confirmation:

Barrier Free Living
Coler Hospital
City Council Member Ben Kallos
RIRA President Jeffrey Escobar
RIOC President Susan Rosenthal
NYC Department of Housing
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney

As of this writing, we have not received any response. This is particularly disturbing given some of these individuals are our elected officials.

We have also notified the following news agencies and requested that they investigate the issue:

NY Times
NY Post
NY Daily News
NY1 News
The Wire

We hope this information is of value to you and we welcome your involvement in the effort to get to the bottom of this matter.
More info on Barrier Free Living available from this 2014 Mission video

BFL MISSION FILM 2014 from barrier free living on Vimeo.

and at their web site

The LIC Post reported on October 2 about Long Island City residents frustration with not being told of a homeless facility being opened in their neighborhood. According to the LIC Post:
... Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D- Long Island City) said she was “outraged and disappointed” upon learning last week that the Best Western at 38-05 Hunters Point Ave. was “yet another hotel in Queens” to become a homeless shelter.

“I do not feel that our community was given adequate notice, nor time to prepare for this development,” Nolan wrote in a Sept. 29 letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio.”My office received no information as to which company will be managing the shelter, nor for how long the shelter will be operating.”

Similarly, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said he was disappointed that his office and the community did not have a say in or knowledge of the decision.

“While we can never demonize the homeless, many of which are children, I share in my community’s frustration of the process by which this decision was made,” Van Bramer said in a statement....