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CB 12 says no to new shelter

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A nonprofit group that helps New York’s homeless population wants to set up a new housing unit in Jamaica, but the district manager of the local community board has taken issue with the proposal, fearing her neighborhood will be overrun with shelters.

The city Department of Homeless Services is currently reviewing a request for proposal by Brooklyn-based nonprofit Housing Bridge for a 54-unit transitional home for families in a building at 170-02 93rd Ave.

Yvonne Reddick, the district manager for Community Board 12, which oversees the area, has taken a stand against the proposal because of the 17 homeless shelters in the borough — nine of which are in the board’s jurisdiction.

“We are saying no, no, no,” Reddick said during the board’s monthly meeting in St. Albans two weeks ago. “We are plagued with many problems and are losing our community.”

Issac Leshinsky, chief executive officer of Housing Bridge, said he and his company have no intention of disturbing the community and he wants to improve its homeless problem. The city Department of Homeless Services said there are more than 1,200 homeless people living in shelters in the borough and its recent survey found 112 homeless individuals living on the streets in Queens.´╗┐

The administrator said the proposed center would be a transitional home for the families and they would be placed into permanent residences within a year. Housing Bridge, which has had three similar homes in Manhattan, Brooklyn and East Elmhurst, has helped 500 families find permanent homes since 2007, according to Leshinsky.

“There is a problem in the area and we believe our model is very successful in Jamaica,” he said.

The CEO said he has not met with Reddick to discuss his plans face-to-face, but is trying to arrange a meeting. He said he has discussed the proposal with other groups in the area and the only complaints he has heard so far are from the community board.

“We know there is a need now because of the economy,” he said.

Regardless of his intentions, Reddick said she is opposed to the shelter.

“We have nothing wrong with homelessness´╗┐ ... but we are the dumping ground,” she said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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