Wakefield Area News
By Mary V. Lauro
BRONX, NEW YORK, October 1-"The moving finger writes and having writ moves on.
"Not all your tears of piety and wit can change half a line."
Those famous words are from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, an 11th century Persian mathematician and poet. They came to mind when we first heard about the possibility of a fourth homeless shelter for Wakefield and read the very informative column in last week's NEWS by Rev. Richard Gorman, Chairman of CB 12. The column confirmed what we have been saying these past three years regarding the shelters except that when we were saying it we were treated as if we were trying to start World War III.
The fact is, if we had tried to start a war, we probably would not be dealing with three and possibly four shelters. Stop to think. These shelters are all being built or proposed for the sliver of Wakefield around White Plains Road. The section is a small slice of Senator Jeff Klein's district as it is for Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz and Councilman Oliver Koppell. So what do they care about us? Are they up in arms over what is happening in their district? Of course not. They are anxious to get rid of this pesky sliver in the new districts. What is amazing is that if they get rid of this sliver of Wakefield it will fall to the close-by districts of Senator Ruth Hassel Thompson, Assemblyman Carl Heastie and convicted councilman Larry Seabrook. We will not tell you which of these three, when informed by a constituent of the intention of Praxis Initiative to build supportive housing on White Plain Road opposite Food Town said, “The good news is, it is not in my district." With an attitude like that no wonder Mayor Bloomberg can do whatever he wants! With an attitude like that no wonder Wakefield may have to deal with four shelters. No help, not even sympathy for your neighbor?
Back in May 2009, we know that Bloomberg had slated the Muller Reserve Center for a homeless shelter even though everyone was pretending otherwise, and Councilman Koppell hoped he could get the National Guard moved into it. Naturally, when we heard Praxis wanted to build supportive housing on White Plains Road, we saw the handwriting on the wall. Our voice was dismissed as misguided and strident. When we ranted that providers of these shelters were out to make money, we were derided because they were doing God's work. When we made other discoveries, now so very evident, we encountered only insult.
The fourth possibility for a homeless shelter is 4453 White Plains Road, a new construction of 56-60 units originally intended as affordable housing. That is what we have told the many residents who called us because that is the information we had.
We understand that this fourth possibility is in its early stage. There are no plans or contracts yet with the proposer, the Acacia Network. Nonetheless, we strongly urge the Community Board to notify all our elected officials that the Board opposes such a plan and notifies all residents within a four block radius. We don't have the resources or we would do it ourselves.
It is of interest to us that when Praxis first surfaced we had suggested that it look into the lot which is now that fourth possible shelter. Praxis said it was too small. Well, here it is, not so small after all!
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