By Robert Press
Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. Acalled for a community protest to the proposed adult men's shelter at 2008 Westchester Avenue by Samaritan Village. Speaker after speaker denounced the planned adult men's shelter for 165 men in the Parkchester section of the Bronx.
A teacher from the Pre-K right across the street from the proposed adult men's shelter wanted to know how this was being done right across the street from a Pre-K. A mother of three children also wanted to know how her children would be safe walking to and from the school they attend. Her children would be walking right in front of the proposed adult men's shelter. 8 year old Shanique Oemrawsing said that she would be afraid to go to the library if the planned men's shelter was built. She added that she would be afraid to walk on the street.
Parkchester District Leader John Perez told of the story he had when after serving twenty years in the Army he found himself homeless. He said he went to Samaritan Village for a place to stay, but was told unless he was a drug addict or had a criminal background Samaritan Village could not help him.
According to Community Board 9 District Manager William Rivera in the next two years twenty-nine such family cluster sites in CB 9 are slated to be closed. He could not understand if family shelters are being closed why would a men's shelter be opened.
The community, estimated to be around 500, chanted "No Shelter, Ho Shelter". Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. said that he has listened to the community, and the community does not want a men's shelter at 2008 Westchester Avenue. He added there are no other elected officials here with the community, and that they and the mayor should listen to the community.Photo 2 – Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. talking to the crowd.Photo 3 – District Leader John Perez talking about who Samaritan Village places in its shelters.Photo 4 – A mother who said her name was Chanell worries about her three children going to school past the proposed men's shelter.Photo 5 – 8 year old Shanique Oemrawsing talks about being afraid to go to the library across from a new men's shelter. All pictures are taken by Robert Press/Parkchester Times