Shelter skelter: ‘Homeless’ rally marches through Sunset Park

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Photo gallery

Solidarity across boroughs: Ben Geremia came out with The Juniper Park Civic Association from Queens to support Sunset Parkers in their fight against hotel-shelter conversions.
Dump the dope: Protestors blasted Mayor DeBlasio for failing on his promise to curb homelessness in the city.
Schools not shelters: Educator Abdul Hakim Alhalsa advocates for the city to invest in schools rather than hotels and shelters.

There is no shelter from their ire.

More than 200 Sunset Parkers and even some Queens residents marched along Fourth Avenue on Oct. 15 to demand the city stop converting hotels into homeless shelters. The Department of Homeless services is quietly filling numerous neighborhood inns with the indigent, and locals are fed-up with lack of transparency, said one community activist.

“We’re not protesting the homeless — we’re against the city’s policy of warehousing these individuals into hotels without any community notificati­on,” said Delvis Valdes, a director with activist group The Village of Sunset Park. “It’s not good for the people in the hotels and it’s not good for the neighborhoods. It benefits no one.”

Protesters gathered on 24th Street and Fourth Avenue near the would-be Howard Johnson Hotel that officials converted into a family shelter in August and then snaked across the neighborhood to another site on 26th Street near Fourth Avenue and then to the infamous hotel-turned-mens’-shelter on 49th Street between Second and Third avenues.

The crowd was a mix of Sunset Park community groups and folks from the hinterlands of Queens who have been fighting their own shelter battle, said Valdes.

“We saw what they were going through and told them we’re having the same issue,” said Valdes. “This is a five-borough problem, and we need a five-borough solution. We have to come together on this until the mayor takes notice and things are done differently.”

Visitors to the neighborhood were shocked at how densely pack it is with homeless refuges — and it seems clear Sunset Park is bearing more than its fair share, one outsider said.

“I couldn’t believe how many are in Brooklyn in such a small area,” said Queens resident Ben Geremia. “It’s not fair to the communities, and the homeless aren’t getting what they deserve.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2517. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Maria from Sunset Park says:
These shelters popping up has become a real problem. It seems they are on every other block. I blame Carlos Menchaca for this. These shelters all appeared on his watch and he has done absolutely nothing about them. In 10 months I'm voting him out of office. We need a councilman or councilwoman who's going to fight for us and Carlos Menchaca is not doing it.
Oct. 18, 2016, 7:27 am
Tom from Sunset Park says:
You are so right. This guy Carlos Menchaca doesn't give a damn about the people who live in Sunset Park and have to deal with these shelters and the residents urinating and harassing people. It's the same thing with the library on 51st street. The community doesn't want it knocked down but Carlos Menchaca doesn't care. We have to vote this bum out and replace him with someone who's going to listen to the community.
Oct. 18, 2016, 8:21 am
Javier from Sunset Park says:
You are both right. Menchaca has to go. Between the shelters, the library and don't forget he wants to green light knocking down the landmark police precinct across from the courthouse.
Oct. 18, 2016, 8:28 am
Juan from Sunset Park says:
I agree with everything you guys have said. I just want to know how do we get a good candidate to replace Carlos Menchaca?
Oct. 18, 2016, 8:55 am
Choochie Rodriguez from Sunset Park says:
Send Menchacha back to Mexico! Back to his beloved homeless people!
Oct. 18, 2016, 10:11 am
Brett from Greenwood Heights says:
seriously! between the hotels, shelters, losing the library, rising rents and not being able to move landmarking forward, what has menchaca been doing??!!
Oct. 18, 2016, 11:15 am
Jovita from Sunset Park says:
Menchaca has to go. I live near the Lutheran Church on 63rd street and they are giving that property to the 5th Avenue Committee to build unaffordable housing. Everyone is opposed to this but Menchaca doesn't care. I was a supporter of his early on but now I am going to support an opponent.
Oct. 18, 2016, 12:14 pm
Ray from Sunset Park says:
I've been to all of the hearings on these issues. Menchaca keeps supporting all of these projects against the community. You don't see this other parts of the city where the councilman listens to the voters. Menchaca will listen next September when he's voted out of office.
Oct. 18, 2016, 12:40 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
we have not been here to house the homeless - go to east ny
Oct. 19, 2016, 5:19 pm
Richard from Red Hook says:
Does anyone know who is running against Carlos Menchaca?
Oct. 20, 2016, 11:40 am
Dave from Boerum Hill says:
@ old time brooklyn from slope

You are technically homeless yourself. You've smugly pointed out on multiple comment threads about how the tax payers of the city pay your way.

So consider your house (in Park Slope) a homeless shelter.
Oct. 21, 2016, 3:09 pm

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