New Family Shelter at 385 McDonald Avenue

New Family Shelter at 385 McDonald Avenue

Thank you to the many neighbors who attended last week’s meeting (at PS 230) about the new shelter for families at 385 McDonald Avenue. The Kensington community had a respectful conversation on a highly-charged topic.

At the meeting, representatives from NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and CAMBA (the Brooklyn not-for-profit organization that will be running the shelter) presented detailed plans and addressed many of the concerns raised by neighbors.

I know that some of those concerns remain, and I respect the opinions of long-time residents who want to make sure Kensington remains a great neighborhood.  Still, I am confident that by working together – with a strong operator in CAMBA (who also operates the Park Slope Women's Shelter and others around the city), in partnership with DHS, PS 230, the 66th Precinct, Assemblyman Brennan, and community groups – we will address any issues that arise, and make sure the shelter succeeds for its residents, its neighbors, and the Kensington community.

It was also deeply encouraging (especially during this holiday season) to see so many of you welcome our soon-to-be neighbors with open hearts and offer to do what you can to help. I think its unlikely that so many people have ever come out to a public meeting to support a new homeless shelter.    

A few notes of follow-up from the meeting, and for those who may not have been able to attend:

  • If you are interested in joining the “welcoming committee” that neighbors (led by Catherine Barufaldi and Tracy Connor) have formed, you can email the organizers at givemeshelterBK [at] gmail [dot] com, for more information about how to get involved.
  • CAMBA is hiring to fill a range of positions at the shelter – including case workers, client advocates, supervisors, an administrative assistant, security guards, and driver/maintenance worker. If you are interested, all positions are listed on CAMBA’s website. (Note: the Kensington positions are described as “CAMBA's new Family Shelter in Central Brooklyn ”)
  • There will be a community advisory board to weigh in on matters concerning the shelter, and continue to foster a healthy relationship between the shelter and the greater Kensington community.

However you feel about the shelter, we are all committed to keeping Kensington a great neighborhood, where diversity of all kinds (including of opinion) is a real strength. Special thanks to Larry Jayson (longtime president of the Albemarle Neighborhood Association), who did a great job moderating the meeting.

As always, my office is here to help. If you have additional questions or specific concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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