Thursday, September 6, 2012

In the dark on Homeless Shelters

Wakefield Area News
By Mary V. Lauro
BRONX, NEW YORK, September 6- Before we get to the phone call which inspired this column, we mention that with summer's end, meetings will begin again. 
Please mark the dates since postage is expensive and not everyone has e-mail. The League will have its first meeting on September 20 at 7:30 p.m. at Redeemer Lutheran Church on Barnes and Boyd Avenue. The 47th Precinct Community Council will have its first meeting at 8 p.m. on September 12, also at Redeemer Lutheran which brings us to the fact that the 47's current commanding officer, D.I. DeEntremont has been transferred out of the 47 Pct. to the prestigious Fugitive Enforcement Unit.
We are most appreciative of DI DeEntremont's command of the 47th Precinct these past three years. Given the fact that he was understaffed, he did a tremendous job in keeping as much peace as possible. He also had a very soothing personality and was most cooperative with the community through the 47th Precinct Community Council. He did not see the community as an enemy, and, in return, we saw him as a friend.
The bright side to this loss is that we will gain DI Brian Mullen who comes to us after a stint in the 33rd, 52nd and 44 Precincts. His reputation is also sterling. If past is prologue, he may continue the good community-police relations that marked the tenure of DI DeEntremont.
Regarding that phone call, the voice was that of an intelligent female. Our number had been given to her by CB 12. She was distraught. How could it be, she asked, that neither she nor her neighbors knew that three homeless shelters were scheduled to be built in the community? Her mother lives on Bronx Boulevard, she said, less than two blocks away from the Muller Army Reserve Center on Nereid and the Balfour building on Bronx Boulevard. And, what about this AID's (Praxis Initiative) center being built opposite Food Town on White Plains Road? Don't we count she asked plaintively? Why have we been kept in the dark?
We explained as best we could all we had done since May 2009 on the three shelters: the petitions, the letter writing, the protests, the busloads of people. We told her how Praxis wooed all our elected officials including our Community Board and how Wakefield was kept in the dark until Praxis had them all in tow.
What about the Community Board, she wanted to know. What did it do? She was told the chair wrote long columns, but the Board never discussed the situation. She wanted to know whether it notified the community and why notices were not placed in store windows or flyers sent to all residents within a certain distance from the shelters. We could not answer but she did.
She said, "That priest does not want to see any community uprising. He doesn't want to lose control. I went to two meetings there and swore I would not go again. It was like a high school class with the priest sitting up front and doing all the talking. The agenda was a joke. Same agenda two times and I understand from other people who have gone that it is the same every month. Neither the Board members nor the audience have any idea what the hot topics are. The community is left out in the cold with no voice at all. It seems the main interest of the Chair is to close the meeting by 9:30”
We'll end here, but we will have more to say.
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