Massive Proposed Homeless Housing Poses Direct Threat

Perhaps the greatest direct threat to the Jewish community of Crown Heights is the one most people don’t even know about. And these CHJCC candidates have plans to stop it.

Perhaps the greatest direct threat to the Jewish community of Crown Heights is the one most people don’t even know about. 

It is no secret that one of the keys to the growth of the Crown Heights community has been the ability to move south. The neighborhoods of East Flatbush and Remsen Village offer young and growing families the ability to purchase their own homes and live in comfort. 

Currently, the city is proposing a slew of government-funded development projects to be enacted in exactly this area. At this stage, some 2,000 units have already been approved, more than 1,000 of which will be designated homeless housing units. 

The proposed projects are set to be built on just a small percent of a much larger area. This sprawling acreage is currently home to multiple large institutions, including hospitals and nursing homes. Many of these institutions have been shuttered, reduced their services, or are expected to close within the next decade. 

In other words, huge swaths of land in the heart of our community—from Nostrand Avenue all the way to Utica Avenue, and from Rutland Road down to Clarkson Avenue—may soon be targeted by the state for subsidized living, including a massive influx of homeless shelters.

This is a direct threat to the hundreds of Jewish families who’ve settled in the vicinity, as well as to their non-Jewish neighbors, who likewise want clean and safe streets for their families.

The Current Proposal: The Risks 

Safety Concerns: Many of the proposed units are designated for homeless individuals, which will lead to an influx of unstable residents in the area. Many of these people have a history of violence, felony, theft, substance abuse, and more. 

We’ve already seen the kind of damage that homeless shelters impose on our neighborhoods. This is a sure recipe for streets filled with crime, harassment, noise, garbage, and chaos.

Splitting Frum Crown Heights: The proposed housing is situated directly on the border between “old” Crown Heights and the fast-growing south Crown Heights, where hundreds of young frum families have been buying or renting homes. 

This will serve as a physical barrier splitting the community in half, and creating two separate ones. 

It’s likely it will become a “dangerous” area that parents will not allow their children to walk through alone, or even a place where adults will feel uncomfortable walking around at day or night. 

Future Proposals: The current proposal is just the start. The area is made up of many more lots comprising tens of acres that could be used for future development. If these projects proceed as planned, it will likely mean more such developments in the future.

Not only does this introduce crime and danger to our community, but it also takes valuable space that could be used for developments geared towards families, which can reduce the Jewish community’s acute housing shortage.

It is crucial that we take action NOW, while we still have the opportunity to influence the situation.

Our Plan of Action

The slate of candidates running for the Vaad Hakahal, include Meir New, Berel Hildesheim, Dovid Leib Halon, Zalman Friedman, and Shmuel Rosenstein, is committed to actively representing the interests of the Crown Heights Jewish community.

The slate is not just opposing these projects; we are proposing constructive solutions:

Better-Supervised Housing: We will push for more moderate, well-supervised housing options, such as those for seniors. We will also advocate for regulations and thorough oversight to ensure that these projects stay safe.

Home Ownership Programs: Among the current proposals are 92 units allocated for a subsidized home ownership program. It is vital for the CHJCC to explore these homeownership programs, which Crown Heights desperately needs. We need to secure a portion of these for our community, helping young families get into homes of their own. 

We will also push for these proposals to include more home ownership programs in general.

How are we doing this? 

Establishing a Housing Committee: We are already in the midst of forming a dedicated housing committee to work on this specific issue. We have recruited members, including people with experience in real estate development, zoning, lobbying, architecture, and law. These individuals have firsthand knowledge of these issues and will advise the CHJCC on how to best address them.

Working with Local Organizations and Authorities: We plan to work with other local organizations, both Jewish and not Jewish, to address this issue collectively. We also plan to collaborate with local government officials to find solutions for our community. 

Most Important of all: Achdus! By coming together as a unified bloc, we can make sure that Crown Heights is being represented and that our needs and concerns are made clear to the project management committees. 

The Bottom Line: 

Our community deserves better. You can be part of ensuring that change happens by voting this June 2nd.

Want a Safer, Better Kehilla?

Vote for the Slate. 

There’s a lot at stake with the upcoming CHJCC elections. We need a united, strong leadership with a clear vision to keep the Rebbe’s shchuna safe and thriving for all. 

To support this crucial effort and others like these, vote for the new slate running for the CHJCC board of directors / Vaad HaKahal. 

Elections take place this June 2nd.

To contact the slate, email [email protected] 

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  1. Hopefully this most important and critical issue will be successfully addressed at last. This situation has been pending for quite a while now with no one seriously working to handle this problem in our community as of yet. Crime has already increased significantly in Crown Heights and with the summer approaching it is more than a little intimidating.

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