Holden meets with DHS on Glendale shelter
by Benjamin Fang
Aug 08, 2018 | 1125 views | 0 0 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As a civic leader with the Juniper Park Civic Association, Robert Holden often criticized local elected officials for not doing enough to stop the city from pushing a homeless shelter into the community.

Now that he’s the councilman for the area, he’s trying to stop another attempt by the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to open a shelter.

Last Friday, Holden met with DHS Commissioner Steven Banks and Council Speaker Corey Johnson on the proposed shelter at 78-16 Cooper Avenue in Glendale. The councilman had fought a plan to convert the former factory site into a shelter just four years ago.

“Upon learning of a proposal for a men’s shelter in Glendale, I immediately requested a meeting with the mayor and his administration to express once again my steadfast disapproval of this location,” Holden said in a statement, “and that it would in no way be an option.”

Holden said he tasked Banks with finding an alternatives to the proposed site in Glendale because community members would be against an “out-of-character” shelter. Locals have cited the site’s location, lack of infrastructure and environmental history as reasons that it would be a bad location to house the homeless.

“I cannot emphasize enough how absurd it is to place a shelter at this location,” Holden said. “It is a nonstarter and I stand ready to fight with the community against it.”

DHS spokesperson Arianna Fishman said the agency cannot discuss proposals that are still in the procurement process because they have not been finalized or approved. She said no final determination has been made yet about the use of this particular site.

But once there has been a determination, DHS will immediately notify the community board, elected officials and community residents, she said.

She clarified that DHS doesn’t identify locations for potential shelters. Rather, the agency evaluates proposals submitted by nonprofit service providers for the use of specific locations as shelters. DHS can only evaluate a site once the request for proposal (RFP) from the service provider has been submitted.

“We provide notification to communities when a viable proposal from a not-for-profit service provider has been fully evaluated,” Fishman said in a statement, “and communities will be the first to know as locations are identified for use as shelter.”
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