September 18, 2015 / Brooklyn news / Greenpoint / Brooklyn Is Angry

Greenpointers: Clay St. homeless shelter attracting unsavory activity

Helter shelter: Greentpointers say the area around this shelter is riddled with crime.
The Brooklyn Paper
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The streets around a new homeless shelter at Clay Street and Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint have become so riddled with drugs and violence since the refuge opened, even war vets say they are terrified to step foot there.

“I was in Vietnam, and I’m afraid to go on Clay and Manhattan,” said longtime resident Michael Hoffman, one of many neighbors who lined up at a town hall meeting on Wednesday night to share their horror stories and demand city officials, police, and shelter operators crack down on the problem.

Residents claim they have seen a disturbing surge in criminal activity since operator Home–Life Services opened the residence at 58–66 Clay St. in November last year — some say they have witnessed drug deals and others have been harassed by aggressive riff-raff in their own backyard.

“I noticed a difference in the neighborho­od,” said Stephanie Hinson, who lives a few blocks away from the site. “Something happened.”

Two brutal attacks have blighted the nearby blocks since the new shelter arrived — someone fatally stabbed a man on Dupont Street near Manhattan Avenue in December, and another brute beat a local artist in front of the Clay facility in July.

Locals say the city and the site’s operators have made no attempts to curb bad behavior, allowing tenants go out for long smoke breaks after their 10 pm curfew without accountability.

But facility director Riquelma Moreno said she can’t lock up her tenants like prisoners, and claimed she can’t gauge how long a smoke break should be because she has never smoked.

The Clay Street shelter is just a block away from another refuge at 400 McGuiness Blvd. and neighbors claim the space between the two facilities has become a seedy hangout for unsavory characters — particularly 96 Clay St., where neighbors said they saw people smoking crack, and the deli next door.

Police have been just as unhelpful, locals said. Hinson said that when one man who loiters around the deli threw cookies at her and yelled, “Die, b----, die!” the local precinct acted like she was the wacko.

“I called the 94 Precinct and they treated me like I was a nutcase,” said Hinson, adding that the ruffians had also yelled violent sexual threats at her. “I am not a nutcase.”

The Department of Homeless Services has already stationed peace officers — law enforcement officials who are able to make arrests and use force — outside the McGuinness shelter, which neighbors say has helped clean up that area. And a department rep said the city would place officers at the Clay Street facility starting Thursday.

But police and the shelter owner and manager must do their part, too, said one local pol.

“Everybody that was on that dais bears some responsibility to fix the issue,” said Councilman Stephen Levin (D–Greenpoint).

The director of Home Life Services claimed she had only just learned that the conditions around her shelter had spun out of control, and promised to restore safety and goodwill with neighbors — though now how she would do that.

“I will do everything I can,” she said. “I want you to stand up and clap for me when I’ve done what I needed to have done.”

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at or by calling (718) 260–8312.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Adamben from Bedstuy says:
In other words,they will do nothing.
Sept. 18, 2015, 9:34 am
Gertie from Greenpoint says:
A lot of us in Greenpoint don't care for savory food. There's one of those new tea "shoppes" on Manhattan Avenue that serves savory finger food with their tea. Most of us native Brooklynites prefer sweet pastries to savory stuff. If you think we're unsavory, then I have a whole lot of curse words to call you.
Sept. 18, 2015, 9:52 am
Northside Ned from Greenpoint says:
"But facility director Riquelma Moreno said she can’t lock up her tenants like prisoners, and claimed she can’t gauge how long a smoke break should be because she has never smoked.'

I'm SHOCKED this huckster isn't running a tight ship.
Sept. 18, 2015, 12:40 pm
b from gp says:
Have there been any direct connections between crimes committed and the shelter? Or is this a general public nuisance issue?

The sizable shelters combined with Greenpoint's physical cul de sac-ishness probably is a contributing factor to whatever the trouble may be. Homeless peeps often get shuffled around, sometimes across the country, as most large shelters are located near transportation hubs (midtown). Some I've met, around Clay, truly seem mentally compromised, as though Mainchance doesn't have the capability to make distinctions between various needs. Small shelters such as the Friends Seminary in Manhattan on 15th St are suppose to be relatively solid. Meanwhile DOE jobs are at risk. Having nothing to believe in, not much of a future and no real way to pass the time, one thing understandably merely leads to another.
Sept. 18, 2015, 1:33 pm
chippy says:
K2 is the best, isn't it?
Sept. 18, 2015, 8:25 pm
Ian from Williamsburg says:
There's a straightforward rationale for these problems in Greenpoint. There's poor voter turnout and poor political representation. For that reason the city will continue dumping anything and everything in this neighborhood. Homeless shelters, wastewater treatment, trash management and other undesirable elements will continually be dumped here. It's almost invisible to De Blasio. Ask how many homeless shelters have been built in South Williamsburg that has 90% voter turnout.
Sept. 18, 2015, 9:52 pm
b from gp says:
Yes, voting is important, however the City doesn't dump stuff into a neighborhood because it under-represents itself. Logistics of all kinds come into play, so as to strategically locate Infrastructure. Driving factors often are increase of population and environmental conservation combined with the lay of the land.

Problem solving involves properly identifying the problem.
Sept. 19, 2015, 10:29 am
Ken from Greenpoint says:
This is some racist ——. Also, one veteran interviewed does not=VETERANS.
Sept. 19, 2015, 10:48 am
Toby from Greenpoint says:
Ken sound like a Jackass
Sept. 20, 2015, 5:20 pm
Matt from Greenpoint says:
Whole bunch of cops in Starbucks, none on Clay Street.
Sept. 21, 2015, 6:25 pm
Matt from Greenpoint says:
Let us pray for a brutally cold Winter.
Sept. 21, 2015, 6:39 pm
RS from Greenpoint says:
i live directly across the street from the shelter. At least 3-4 times a week, the police & Ambulance are called to handle some incident. And two weeks ago, i saw a man punch his wife/GF in the face - it's very serious stuff & not sure what can be done. The operators of the place came out to diffuse the situation, but I'm thinking this is not a one off type of occurrence.
Sept. 28, 2015, 9:20 am
ernesto from greenpoint says:
The residents in the shelter are not all bad people!! In fact most of us are working citizens!!
Sept. 30, 2015, 6:29 am
ritza from clay st says:
this a beautiful place it is just the people and the k-2
Oct. 28, 2015, 1:50 pm
ritza from clay st says:
66 clay is a nice living quarters besides the the younger group that is coming up in there makes it crazy
Oct. 28, 2015, 1:52 pm
Kevin from McGinley says:
I have been living on clay st for 4 years. While I don't think the residents of the shelter are a particular threat to me I have noticed a severe rise in crime/noise and generally debaucherous activity here since the shelter opened. It's a shame its not run better. I see fights late at night, I here screaming, I see drug deals constantly. And to think, one day I wanted to raise a family here..
Nov. 5, 2015, 9:04 am
Mike from Greenpoint says:
I live and work in the neighborhood so I see a lot of these guys on Manhattan Ave. Many are clearly mentally ill. Others look high or are looking to get high as soon as possible. Others walk in and out of traffic yelling to themselves. It's stuff I have never seen in the neighborhood before.

It will only continue to get worse once all the towers and big residential get built on West and Commercial and more shops open on the north end of Manhattan Ave. The more people that live there the more targets there will be for these guys to harass and mug.

It's sad the 94 isn't doing more to watch these guys. It would be a huge deterrent if they actually patrolled the north end of Greenpoint.
March 10, 2016, 6:42 pm
Pat from Williamsburg says:
I was really going to move to Clay st because the rent is cheaper but then I read this
Sept. 14, 2016, 5:54 pm
Frederick from Pryor says:
Under A city investigation as security officer in Manhattan and training guard it was a great experience to seeking out homeless care for under staffing matters and political policy in the shelter system association of family and single women wit family's answer to staffing security counseling unprofessional shelter
Feb. 28, 2018, 8:40 am
The Filth of Forest Hills from Forest Hills says:
"But facility director Riquelma Moreno said she can’t lock up her tenants like prisoners, and claimed she can’t gauge how long a smoke break should be because she has never smoked."

Ironic, these willing and able LAZY men who DON'T want to work, due to their BAD LIFE CHOICES, cannot afford a place to live, yet waste money on cigarettes, drugs and alcohol. I mean let's be real, the homeless are a BIG PROBLEM due to their poor life choices and actions regardless if they are drug addicts, etc. YOU are responsible for your own actions and your own actions are what gets you into this mess. It is not caused by others. SO the fake liberal progressive Mayor and his fake liberal progressive cohorts need to stop acting like it is not because of their actions and laziness. AND people with very young children who are homeless, why are you living in one of the most expensive cities in the world and why did you have not one, but several kids, when you cannot provide a roof over your head and care for them properly. THIS IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY, not others.

Very few of the homeless are due to unforeseen circumstances that were out of their control. The majority are POOR LIFE CHOICES and an unwillingness to work and clean up their damn act.

Kew Gardens/Forest Hills has seen the Comfort Inn on Queens Blvd turned into a single men's homeless shelter and things have gone down hill in the area with constant panhandling, dangerous men loose on the streets, crime up and litter consisting of the small alcohol bottles (the choice of homeless).

AND when is this city going to come clean on the statistics of how many of these people are from out of state/country, because of NYC's archaic "right to shelter" laws which put the burden on NY and away from the place these people came from or how about the statistics of all the men released from prison ending up on the streets. OR he number of years many of these people have been homeless.

BUT the homeless have become a big for profit business and the powers that be don't want to upset that huge gravy train even at the detriment of the communities these problematic places are put in. AND why are these places run so badly to begin with.

Typical bad NY policies and no one willing to be upfront about all of this and just pass the buck.
March 2, 2018, 8:45 am

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