Call Us → 212-616-5810

Community Board Committee Approves Controversial Detox Center In Flatiron District

Community Board Committee Approves Controversial Detox Center In Flatiron District

NY1 7/16/2010

By Tetiana Anderson

Despite some opposition from area residents, Community Board 4’s Health, Housing and Human Service Committee voted Thursday night to support a new drug detoxification and homeless facility in the Flatiron District.

It’s a lone building on West 25th Street that’s causing quite an uproar with some neighborhood residents.

The displeasure over a proposed 325-bed homeless shelter and substance abuse treatment facility was evident Thursday night. It’s set to be run by the Bowery Residence Committee, an outfit many say successfully runs similar service centers in the city.

But a number of people at a committee vote for Community Board 4 say the whole project has been rife with problems since the beginning.

“They basically came to this process by first mischaracterizing the nature of this building, by characterizing it, at least what they said in there, as a hotel, as opposed to some sort of treatment facility,” said one local resident.

“As we have learned more about it, the question is, what is being proposed to be done there, is that actually what has been filed at the Department of Buildings?” asked Joe Rustuccia of Community Board 4. “It doesn’t look like it. We don’t know were not clear.”

So, with some conditions, the housing and health subcommittee of Community Board 4 voted Thursday to recommend the full board support the project.

Among the conditions: that the project was properly registered with the Buildings Department.

There are other issues that concern the community board and people who live in this neighborhood – including the size of the proposed facility and the safety of the neighborhood once it becomes operational.

“If you’re bringing in a facility that proposes to have a high level of mental illness and substance abuse in the back yard of where lots of kids live, it’s not necessarily a good thing,” said an area resident.

“It shows a gross distortion of homeless people and it shows a lack of common compassion,” countered another.

“Not all the men that are going to be in that shelter are bad, are sex offenders, are rapists,” agreed a third.

Either way, the Department of Homeless Services, which will fund many of the service programs, and BRC have not yet reached a formal deal. So even though the space is ready, the whole project is not yet a done deal.