I live in NYC. My part of the city is over 95% Democrat (to be fair, the vast majority of NYC is Democrat, but I’m trying to say that my immediate neighborhood votes left no matter who is on the right) My neighbors in my building want to defund the police, are anti profiling and spout all the philosophies of the liberal and progressive policies. They literally wear the T shirts and tote the bags and march in the protests. I’ve seen them.

You get the picture?

A few months ago, my Husband and I went to walk the dog. In the lobby of our building, my husband was accosted by several neighbors and was asked how they could let this happen. When they said THEY, the meaning was the board, as my husband is treasurer of our coop board (in NYC if you buy your apartment their are boards- will explain if need be) The thing they said was happening was that the city had taken over the boutique hotel literally across the street from our building and was turning it into a homeless shelter for women and young children. This was the first my husband or I had heard of this.

The crime they screamed

The noise they screamed

We’ll never be safe they screamed

How could the board let this happen

Why didn’t we fight this

For the record, no one had moved into the hotel/shelter yet: the way people found out was when furniture was seen being moved out of the building.

No one had moved into the hotel/shelter yet.

Does this make my neighbors:

  1. Racist
  2. Hypocrites
  3. Loud mouths
  4. Anti homeless
  5. Crappy human beings
  6. Afraid that their property values would go down
  7. All of the above
  8. Other

My first question of the day is:

If a homeless shelter were to be put directly across the street from your dwelling, what would be your immediate reaction? (you don’t have to tell me- but be honest with yourself)

Our coop board issued a statement that they would not fight the homeless shelter. This was not a unanimous decision by the board- I think it ended up being 4-3 (one board member stated on the record that he was sorry he ever moved into this building, but that’s a whole other story)

So the board was not going to ask the city to move the shelter. FYI- there are at least a dozen neighbors who won’t speak to us anymore because my Husband would not try to officially move the shelter. He was one of the votes to not fight the shelter being located across the street.

About a week later, people moved in to the shelter.

It’s been a few months, so I will give you a recap of the situation:

There are probably twenty five – thirty adult women, and each has a child under four.

The shelter has a curfew. The first few weeks people were not listening to the curfew and it was very LOUD outside of our building. Neighbors in our building and the buildings near us did get the shelter to make the residents stick to the curfew, so after a week of noise, the residents must be inside by the appointed hour, which I believe is ten pm.

So you see the first issue that we encounter. People from the shelter are on the streets. A lot. They are not allowed to loiter in front of the shelter, so they come across the street and loiter in front of our buidling. Sometimes there are so many people, my neighbors who have strollers, walkers, and canes have trouble using the ramp to enter our building. There are people there all day.

Men are not allowed in the shelter, so the boyfriends/partners of the women often come to sit with the woman and children. Fine. They use the planters in front of our building as a garbage pail. One time, someone dumped a whole bag of trash there. My doorman asked him to clean it up. The man, a friend of one of the shelter residents, dropped his pants, mooned my doorman, turned around and peed into the planter. This was on a Sunday afternoon.

We have two groups of people from the shelter. One sits on the left side of the building by the planters, the other group sits to the right on the other side of our building garage. They are two different racial groups. On Sunday afternoons we often get treated to them yelling racial slurs at one another. We also often get Jerry Springer style fights. Remember- this is all happening during the day in the presence of young children.

Let’s get to the children part.

image intentionally blurred

This is the scene to the side of my building from about 8am till 10pm. The residents face the strollers towards the wall of the apartment building. They sit on the curb and drink and smoke and do drugs, while the children are in the stroller looking at the wall. When I say drugs, I don’t necessarily mean it’s just pot– I mean all kinds of drugs. We see them during the day. With the kids in the strollers. My Doormen, who have a front row view to all this, wonder how they get the kids to stay in the strollers all day without crying.

Just to give you the landscape of my area:

  1. One block east is a park/playground
  2. Five blocks south is a playground
  3. Three blocks west is a playground/park
  4. Five blocks north is a playground /park
  5. Across the street is a plaza for the college
  6. Around the block (300 steps) is a library with a whole floor for children
  7. Seven blocks north there is a library with a whole floor for children
  8. Three blocks east is a community rec center with indoor and outdoor pool and classes that the residents would be able to access

The residents get three meals a day.

Meals thrown away

We see uneaten and unopened meals strewn all over the place. I can’t really complain about these because at least they tried to put them in the garbage. Mainly they remain on the street. You know what food waste on the street brings? If you said bugs and rodents you win a prize.

The shelter has 24 hour security and social workers on the daily.

How about crime?

Well, I admit when I see two men who are high or drunk having a fight, I don’t feel too safe. When I walk the dog, a lot of people make sudden movements to scare her intentionally. My neighbors with small dogs have taken to carrying their dogs till they are away from the building.

911 is called to the shelter at least twice a day. These aren’t calls from the neighbors- these are calls from social workers and security because of escalating fights in the shelter itself. There have been a fair number of calls for the children for accidents and other medical issues.

Every weekend my actual neighbors from my building or surrounding buildings call the police for fights outside, or people passed out on the street, or severe intoxication. I’ve gotten used to walking down the street and seeing flashing lights as I approach my block. it’s just another day.

Am I judging the situation?


Am I right to judge the situation?


But we really need to ask:

Is any of this an actual problem? Are people entitled to live anyway they want, without judgement from anyone else?

Is there an actual problem with people throwing away complete meals?

Is there a problem with people leaving their kids in strollers all day facing a wall?

Is there a problem with hanging out on the street all day doing drugs and drinking and smoking?

Am I judging what is happening because I’m :

  1. White
  2. Middle Class
  3. College educated
  4. A Mother

Do people have to make the same choices that I have and do things the way I did/do?

No they don’t.

Who is to say that the way I do things is the right way, or the only way?

So, this is what’s happening in my neck of the woods. Feel free to jump in and talk about whatever you think/feel about what I wrote. Think about what I wrote and be honest with yourself about what you think and feel.




105 thoughts on “Anything Can Happen Friday: The Homeless Shelter Across the Street

  1. Wow! And I am ashamed to have thought right away. This is why I don’t want to live in cities! There is.a judgment right there.
    Once again an insightful post! I want to say you are right to judge based on the circumstances you described, but…. am I right?
    With all the parks around you there is no excuse for them to keep the children in strollers! There is no excuse to scare little dogs and the peeing in the planter is just downright obnoxious and wrong!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the whole thing. Is there a right and a wrong in this situation? There are multiple ways to look at it, but are any of them “right”?


  2. Sorry you and your family have to go thru this. If your husband could go back and change his decision would he? It’s sad that this is a way of life for these people who really don’t see a need to change their cumstance

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, he wouldn’t change his vote, because practically speaking, it would only mean that the board would formally petition the city to move it, it doesn’t mean they’d move it. Pragmatically, I know there is a homeless issue, but we tiptoe around it and put bandaids, but don’t actually do anything to change the situation. My daughter had a classmate in high school who spent part of her youth in a shelter, so I always optimistically think that maybe if one person is saved. However…when I see it day to day it’s trying on me

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s tough. We all want to help those less fortunate than ourselves but NIMBY (not in my back yard). Where we previously lived in Central London, two houses down there was a shelter for men, generally those who’d just left prison. You would never have known because the property was well maintained and there was no loitering outside, ever. I never felt threatened by its presence. Maybe it’s a question of scale?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. During Covid, they used the shelter for two months to house about 30 men. The difference was that the shelter was federally funded, so they had well paid security guards and with the exception of people coming in front of our building to smoke, there was only one issue that needed police involvement. I don’t even know what to think about the situation now.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I agree with Sheree that possibly the difference between when the men were there vs how it is with the women and kids there now may be a function of the number i.e. scale. Unfortunately, it’s also possible that it’s a function of the situations of men vs women and kids i.e social expectations of/for each gender. Men may not need nearly constant companionship of women though, and I’m painting with a very broad brush here, women in certain social or income strata feel they need to have a man around most of the time, especially when said gent may be the father of one or more of their children. Last but not least there are two other possibly related differences. First, federal criminals, by the nature of their history, probably require closer scrutiny for rehab on a day-to-day basis than your average female that has not committed a major crime. I’m pretty sure federal funding for the criminals vs local funding for the junkies is probably at a much higher level.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. They weren’t federal criminals. My guess is they’re all on the sex offender database, and therefore they upped the security, and it’s why they were only there a short while because when schools reopened partially they needed to move them. I think the men were more aware of how good their situation was at that moment

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I believe it’s important to recognize that value systems differ, however general societal norms still should be acknowledged and spoken to. Public urination, doing drugs while you ignore your kids…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. We have similar problems in Toronto and the solutions are linear and don’t encompass the broader needs. Meanwhile, people who are “privileged” and live in residential homes nearby (walking distance to the shelters or low income/co-op housing) for which they have worked hard to pay for/purchase are putting up with rodents from garbage and the overflow (crime, in some cases, mental health issues that are unsupervised or cared for, etc). It’s very frustrating because the solutions are so multi-faceted but overwhelming to tackle, and many times, the recipients are completely uninterested in participating for whatever subjective reasons they may have.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I agree Claudette. I had a rather long comment started to this post and then trashed it because the reality is that there are so many issues, some blatant and some very nuanced, behind how our social system is structured and how it functions- or not- that I just couldn’t go there.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. I wouldn’t like the situation you describe, less because of the economic status of the women in the shelter, more because of the waste you see. I don’t know there’s anything you can do other than accept what has happened.

    As a child we lived in an apartment over my father’s medical practice. It was in a dodgy part of town with the YMCA next door. The residents there were not the most *polished* but better they were there than on the streets. There’s no great answer to the problem of homelessness, never has been sad to realize.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. A very poignant post and I will answer. As an old Bronx boy who spent time changing the world with my ideas, I think I can comment objectively. Of course I am limited by ethnicity, Italian (which I was told years ago means I am not white) and background, middle class. But as an aging hippie I do have opinions. Sounds to me like you are from Brooklyn, where my son lives now.
    You mentioned you are a democrat, as I was until a few years ago when I saw that they abandoned democratic ideals. All I see now is chaos and corruption, resentment and division, intolerance and one-sided thinking. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    We are Americans. Our thoughts and actions should be for the common good, which works to our personal benefit. We have no media, no good source of information. Instead we get opinion, which is worthless.
    It is a shame what is happening in your neighborhood. But, can I judge the people? Of course not. Judgement is up to a much higher authority. But, I can judge the policies and the people who made those policies possible,and I can judge them harshly. Enough. I have said enough. I hope things get better for you and apologies if I offend.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. I totally can see how this would be frustrating, especially in a place like NYC where the population density if higher.
    No one wants to attract rodents, see people peeing or be around people with substance abuse issues all of the time.
    Some time ago, there was a new homeless shelter built in our community—no one wanted to listen to the neighbors concerns or figure out how they would be addressed.
    We definitely need to address the homeless issue—I’m not sure what the answer is.
    I do know those who have substance abuse and mental health issues are more likely to be homeless—our country could do better addressing those issues.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We have a homeless shelter up the street from where we live. It is a home and very well run. They just added another in-law type building in the backyard to handle more folks. We never see any of the sites you describe. As far as right and wrong, respect for other people and property is always right in my opinion. You may like to do drugs and that’s your choice but don’t involve me in your mess. Also, I suppose we all have the right to raise our children as we see fit but sitting them in front of a blank wall all day doesn’t feel like the best way to help them toward their best lives. That’s a shame.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Obviously this is the the only facility in my neighborhood. It’s a whole lot different when you walk out in the morning to go to the gym and see the garbage and bottles and such blocking your path

      Liked by 1 person

  8. That’s a messy situation. I don’t think I’d vote to get the shelter removed, but I’d ask that there be more organization, and that maybe someone encouraged the people to lounge somewhere else. I don’t know. Maybe if I were in your shoes, I’d vote for them to go, especially if I didn’t feel safe.
    My neighborhood in Brazil was a pretty safe place. We’d go to sleep at night and forget to lock up the doors. Play in the middle of the street, come and go without worrying. A few years back, the hill above our house was donated to landless people, and shanty houses were built. It was fine, until people started using and dealing drugs. Now, fights are often breaking out, the dealers grew bolder, and cops are always being called to intervene. Children no longer play in the streets, and in the evening, everyone is locked up tight. It’s really sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I feel for you. I lived downtown in a Democrat-run town and had a homeless man stalking me for two years. I’m sure you remember me writing about him. He told the police he had bought our home. He left me crazy notes, peeked through our bedroom window and left his belongings on our property — including a bbq. I was frightened and don’t miss that at all. My kids live in Berkeley and there are tons of homeless, but they’ve adapted to them. It’s part of their daily lives. One apartment my daughter lived in had one of the largest homeless encampments in the Bay Area on her sidewalk. She refused to bring me to her apartment. If criminal activity is going on, then yes we definitely can judge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Homelessness is something that I deal with every single day. This post was more a wake up call that we need to stop playing partisan bull, and deal with the things that actually affect people. And we need to work on substance abuse issues, and not poopoo it. And throwing money at something will not fix anything

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yup. Back in the 70s the nyc mayor tried a program where if someone appeared mentally ill, they would be taken in for a psych evaluation. The aclu sued on behalf of the homeless people and the program was stopped…

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I am going to be honest, I read and re-read your post and I am still trying to grasp this. I currently live in the suburbs in Iowa. Prior to this I lived in small towns. Yes we have homelessness and yes we have shelters but to my knowledge not to this degree. It is something I cannot judge or even give an opinion on because this is not something I have experienced. My heart goes out to all. I work in County Health in our capital city, not the best or safest location, so I do see the homeless, I’m a nurse so I care for the homeless too. Quite an education as previously I worked in a preppy college town ER and the only time I saw homelessness was in the dead of winter when they were sick, had frostbite, etc. or unfortunate with mental illness or overdoses. Where I live and work now is the largest city in the state yet nothing like NY. I can’t imagine your frustration but what can you do? Seriously how does one person or even a group of people address something with so many issues and variables.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Well it’s clearly a contentious issue. Are you right to judge? Yes. Humans would have died out long ago if we didn’t judge. Are the homeless people behaving badly? Yes, without doubt. Are they bad people? Probably not. They’ve just evolved a sub culture that’s inimical to society, because for most of their lives society has been inimical to them. They have no hope of long term success, no place, no status, no respected or valued role. They’re outcasts and they do what outcasts do. It’s a broader social problem than homeless shelters. If it makes you feel better I live in a very rural area of Australia and there are people like that here too. During our fires they actually nicked the fire hose from the community safe place. They don’t feel like part of us, they don’t act like it


    1. It’s hard, because you see things, and really, there’s no good answer. I don’t know if you can ever make people feel better, or if the cycle is never ending


  12. I am unable to digest this information because although we too suffer in the southern hemisphere all forms of homelessness this view of the situation is just so foreign to me to comprehend.
    Firstly, the homeless have curfews? And two, they may well be deemed homeless but do have arms and legs so why are meals delivered?
    Sorry, L A. I’m shaking my head in amazement and sorry for your husband who put his hand up to help the board and is treated so shabbily for his efforts. The world has gone mad.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. They have curfews and get meals because they are living in a shelter…the shelter has rules…you’re not allowed visitors inside (pedophiles and prostitution) but…there’s so many layers to this onion…

      Liked by 3 people

  13. My response to your first question, pre-discussion of what is occurring there, is that your neighbors are hypocrites. When I read what the homeless shelter has done to your neighborhood, I wanted to cry. I have always had a soft spot for the homeless. How can someone get a job and get off the street if they have no access to adequate hygiene, etc.? I don’t even know how to begin to respond to people who have EVERYTHING given to them and don’t take advantage of the opportunities. I realize most of them have not had good role models, but you would think there would be an instinctive common sense of decency. I realize there are drug problems involved, but here is an opportunity to get straight. In this case I feel the city is enabling these women and their boyfriends to the detriment of their children, their new neighborhood, and society in general. I feel for you. I had always envied your ability to have so many wonderful cultural and gastronomical adventures in your own neighborhood. Now it seems it would be unpleasant to leave your apartment. Now your doorman is a security officer??? He needs hazardous duty pay.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well, they are totally hypocrites, or as I like to call it limousine liberals, where they send kids to private school and never ride mass transit, but that’s a whole other pet peeve of mine. I accept that I live in a city and things like this are going to be prevalent. What I don’t like is the time we waste of bullshit, instead of actually trying help those who might need it, or try to fix things from the ground up. But that’s a whole other blog

      Liked by 3 people

  14. I for one would be PISSED!!! I like silence and I hate trash! Trashy people and trash on the grounds. I don’t think I could stomach seeing a sweet, innocent baby in a stroller all day while parents are doing drugs. My frustration lies with the women. They are choosing to keep these “men” around and reproducing when they know they shouldn’t. Am I judging? ABSOLUTELY!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I love the responses and that your concerns were not judged against you as has often happened in the past as the world and the media have gone mad with liberalness. We have a Veteran’s homeless apt. nearby but it is kept immaculate and the residents are great to have. I believe they pay a small amount to live there but they just fell on hard times and are recovering. However, I do notice homeless encampments around money exchange places and spots to pay bills. I find this frightening. Also, being approached as you leave the grocery stores with heavy bundles, open your car…to be approached from behind is alarming. I also like silence and I hate trash.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. To be fair, I’m not against sheltering homeless across the street. What I don’t like is the garbage and waste of food. And personally I can’t stand those kids being left in strollers to stare at a wall all day. I have a problem with all that

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, we get it. It just seems that sometimes other people do not get it. Even if we do not live there, we understand. No one after working so hard for their possessions wants to have this across the street from them.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Amazing how the same people who want to defund the police don’t hesitate to call them when they feel threatened…. Personally, I didn’t see a problem with a homeless shelter for women and children across the street until you described the situation itself. I think that all of us, no matter what our situation, need to be respectful of our neighbors. And what you are describing (trash, violence, intimidation, and child neglect) is not okay. What the answer is, I don’t know. But clearly this shelter isn’t preparing people to get out of the homeless lifestyle. I’m sorry for everyone involved!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think it’s very easy to stand behind a cause until it’s in front of you. I’m not perfect, but I try to take a realistic view of what’s in front of me. No problem with a shelter. Problem with garbage and waste and loitering

      Liked by 4 people

      1. With the food…they didn’t even open the meals…just threw them out. I mean, either don’t take it, or give it to a homeless person not in the shelter

        Liked by 1 person

  17. A little late to this discussion, but it is a complex one! The subject of homelessness is near and dear to my heart…and alot was already brought to light in your post & comments. I’ll add a tidbit that most of those not affected by this slice of life need to understand: The homeless community is exactly that – a ‘demographic’ comprised of individuals from every economic, social, racial, zipcode, health needs, and reasons for experiencing homelessness, etc, **in addition to** the stereotypical ‘homeless’ types – as there are in any other community. Unfortunately, those community members such as you described across the street from where you live are the ‘ones’ that perpetuate the animosity against all individuals who are experiencing homelessness, including those who would jump at the chance to accept a ‘hand-up’. And of course, ‘proves’ nothing can be done to change them or the situation….
    I applaud your attitude “No problem with a shelter. Problem with garbage and waste and loitering”
    And I agree. Yours is a neighborly attitude that unfortunately is not reciprocated by your new neighbors, but keeps you human.
    Just a teeny tip of the iceburg of a comment, I know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I always say, things become a stereotype for a reason. I want to give the benefit of the doubt, but I’m human, this is hard to see on the daily. I think cold weather should limit the loitering, but the garbage? Not so sure

      Liked by 1 person

      1. To be clear: I don’t think I’d hold up as well living ‘the daily’ as you are. Basic question (which will no doubt highlight my ignorance): aren’t there city statues and such that at least enforce penalties on noncompliance with existing ‘laws’ about garbage removal, loitering and such?

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Eek!

    My initial thought was a lot of times we don’t believe what we say we believe, and this can be applied to a litany of issues, but I’ll stick to this one: homeless shelter across the street from your home…that’s a no-go for me, and I’m not a white woman.

    The townhome next to ours is a rental, so we’ve had two neighbors in five years, not the ideal situation in a community where we assumed everyone would be buyers; there’s a difference. Recently, neighbor’s car broke down and was stuck halfway on the lawn and halfway in the driveway for THREE WEEKS. This has pissed me off to no end for several reasons. My point is, this isn’t even a huge deal, so I know for a fact, if a homeless shelter was across the street from me, then I’d live in a high state of anxiety 24 hours a day.

    I also say all of this with the understanding that I care about and oftentimes help the homeless, at shelters and on the street, in the States and other countries, but in case I wasn’t clear, I wouldn’t want to live across the street from a homeless shelter, especially by accident.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally get what you’re saying and honestly, after seeing this play out, I’m not sure how open I’d be to it in the future. I think the littering and the loitering and throwing away whole meals puts me over the edge in one way, and seeing kids in strollers all day just gets me in another way. It’s tough to watch

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In my experience, renters sometimes treat their living situation differently than owners, especially in a homeowner’s situation. For example, none of the homeowners have ever left their car on the grass before. It’s against the association’s rules. Renters, the ones who’ve lived next door to me, seem to have a different mindset because it’s not their property. They oftentimes don’t follow the rules…the ones who live there now and the ones who lived their prior to.

        We’ve also been renters in a rental community. It’s a different mindset. Of course, this is not EVERYONE, but in my experience, this has been the case.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My friend recently bought a house that had previously been a rental property. Last night someone came to the house trying to buy “a box” which is apparently some sort of drug lingo, because apparently the previous renters dealt drugs….not saying home owners wouldn’t do this, but yeah…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I didn’t mean it like that, I meant do you categorize all renters as the same, being that you said you yourself have also rented, answers the actual question.

        Liked by 2 people

  19. There are so many issues regarding this entire situation. First off: homeless shelters don’t typically have the best funding, that being said you are not going to get your prettiest crowd of people. Homeless people live with a different set of standards compared to the rest of the working class and so on. That alone is going to cause issues in the neighborhood. It’s a huge step for the board to approve a shelter for these people, but at the same time it’s a level of respectful and mindfulness. Sadly, you cannot teach people either of those things. Even with a curfew or a set of standards at play, this also does not prompt people enough to take care of their surroundings. In all honesty, it’s barbaric on their end. They were granted resources to get on their feet and they simply don’t respect what they were given let alone there is a lack of gratitude. Furthermore, it’s a classist issue as well. Mixing demographics created by society most definitely will cause turmoil. The way you described it, almost sounds like a prison set up across the street. i.e. the visitation and hostility amongst the people staying there. Homelessness has yet to be a thoroughly resolved issue. It starts with the city, but it also starts with the community and people as a whole. I’m so sorry you’ve had to experience such disruptions to your peace. I can’t believe people given opportunities to do better would do anything but that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To be clear, the co op board for my building had absolutely no impact on the decision for the shelter. The people in my building want the board to fight it, but trust me, no one asked if our building was ok with it. The city did it. And this shelter is a really nice well kept building, they have social workers and meals. While I get it’s a shelter, they all have private bathrooms,

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I feel bad for you having to witness and deal with all of that, and for those poor kids, and for your husband who honestly wanted to help. This situation perfectly illustrates the chasm between idealism and reality, especially when people don’t seem to want to help themselves. I see it too in my city, when a homeless shelter run by a local church (so there are no rules re alcohol and drugs and curfews) set up shop in an old established quiet residential neighbourhood and now the residents are afraid to go out of their houses esp. at night, and yet the pastor is allowed according to the city bylaws because he is helping people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s exactly what I was thinking…idealism vs reality. It’s lovely to have ideals, but people are imperfect. There is no situation where things will be perfect. It’s why I get so mad when people tell me I’m a pessimist and passive aggressively say things like…I guess it’s better you don’t try (not meaning me specifically but more about large issues) there are things that aren’t going to change. Period.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I don’t know what the solution is for the homeless, but no I don’t want them living in my very area. We got notice from our city planners that there’s a high-rise low income building going just over the fence from our backyard. I’m renting so if I can find somewhere else then I would move. Unfortunately the cost of rent is sky. So that’s not realistic. You’re not racist you’re not anything that is negative. People work hard to achieve a certain standard of living and this sort of thing negates all the hard work.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. My initial thought is that I would feel very uneasy living near that. The homeless situation is a very real and important issue to address. But to make a neighborhood unsafe, unsanitary, and unkempt…it doesn’t seem fair to those who pay, what I imagine, are high rents. It would just make me feel uneasy and unsafe. What I do find interesting is that Democrats in general are all about helping the downtrodden…and yet your neighbors are expressing disdain. All I can say is wow, what a difficult situation this must be.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I would say I am all for shelters, if people that use them are looking to better themselves. My guess is that drug use isn’t allowed in the building, honestly once those people congregate (loiter) and neglect their children, the children should be brought into the shelter and the addicts should be thrown in jail. I’ve seen multiple YouTube videos about the homeless who say they feel safer on the street than in shelters. So something is seriously wrong there. Everyone in your building has a god given right to express any negative feelings because unfortunately the dreck of society is stinking up the area.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. A really thought-provoking post LA and a fascinating discussion in the comments. I’ve nothing substantive to add, just wanted to say well done you for putting such a tough & emotive subject across so well.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a good point. Of course, one cannot know for certain what the outcome will be, but when you hear of outcomes such as you are currently experiencing, it makes NIMBYism easier to understand and empathise with.

        Liked by 1 person

  25. I work with a housing coalition that engages homeless queer and trans youth in Portland, Oregon. I lived in a shelter for a year. Addiction wasn’t the problem. The legal system was my problem. This was at the start of the pandemic. I stayed longer than I had to stay because I cared about the integrity of that community and that included our neighbors. Surely there were opportunities for those running the shelter to communicate openly with neighbors before and after the shelter opened? It sounds like folk are observing and assessing but not communicating needs. I understand your perspective and greatly appreciate this exchange, but have you or residents in your building actually tried talking with the shelter residents and staff? I am sorry if this has been illuminated earlier in the thread as I have not read every response, but if you are a New Yorker, you know we must communicate. When I was younger I lived on 52st and Beekman. Yup. My aunt still lives there. I taught high school English in the Bronx for a while. Do not assume you understand a person’s situation until you have tried to hear them and be heard. Listen very intently to the soundtrack beneath your language. Are we being honest? I think if we listen to our inner voices, we better know how to proceed. What do you want? What do they want? Don’t assume you are powerless to create community even now. You can. Your heart is trying to show you how. Why is it so many of us actually believe change and growth will not cost us anything? If you want to reap the well fought for benefits of your demographically described status, why would folk in a very different situation have the bandwidth to give a damn when the glares may be warranted, but feel like bullets nonetheless. You have an opportunity to do something different. It may cost a crack in your fortitude but as Brene Brown implies: if vulnerability isn’t part of the deal, there is no deal. Talk to them. Somehow. Someway. Mother to mother. Woman to woman. Soul to soul. There is only resentment that can imbue such an environment. I think you can and will know what to do. Bravo to your husband. Sounds like a man who remembers we are all in this together.


    1. If I were to talk to them, isn’t it implying that I think my way of parenting is right and there’s is wrong? I don’t know how that conversation is anything but the perception of me looking down on them. Thank you for your thought provoking comment. I just noticed it because it fell to spam. Thank you


  26. Wow; am I ever sorry I first missed this! -and that I haven’t time to read everyone’s comments.

    We had a similar thing happen here, with a temporary shelter’s being declared near a high school. The initial complaints were what you experienced, and YES they are dirty hypocrites. It reminded me of the voters’ unanimous decision to build a new shelter, then their even LOUDER complaints when said shelter was slated for the city with the nicest property values (and most dense liberal population).

    Yes, you’re right to judge. Yes, it’s wrong to dope the kids on alcohol so they stay quiet all day. Yes, it’s fine to not like how unsafe your area is now.

    Where I draw any line is how much people like to complain without doing anything. You see how they disliked the noise enough to get them to enforce the curfew -but don’t dislike the garbage and abandoned children and fighting enough to step in or pay for someone to step in.

    Liked by 1 person

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