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Bensonhurst Residents Rally at City Hall Against Homeless Shelter 

Hundreds of people protested the opening of a single, adult male shelter on 86th Street.
Councilmember Susan Zhuang speaks at a rally at City Hall in opposition of a homeless shelter in Bensonshurst.

Hundreds of residents from southern Brooklyn took to City Hall on Thursday to protest the proposed building of a homeless shelter in Bensonhurst.

Residents and elected officials acknowledged that homelessness is a serious issue, but decried the building of a shelter in the southern Brooklyn neighborhood, claiming its inhabitants could be a danger to their community. 

The plans call for a hotel located at 25th Avenue & 86th Street to be turned into a 150-bed, single adult male shelter, according to elected officials. 

Thursday’s rally, which attracted hundreds of people, many who were bussed in from Bensonhurst, was organized by Councilmember Susan Zhuang and Assemblymember William Colton.

Bensonhurst residents protest against the building homeless shelter in their neighorhood at City Hall. Photo: Christopher Edwards for BK Reader.

“Today, our community made our voices loud and clear,” said Councilmember Zhuang. “We must work to address homelessness by building more affordable housing, creating jobs and developing programs that help rehabilitate those who are unhoused, not send them to a human warehouse that will use taxpayer dollars to fund illegal substances for individuals suffering from addiction.”

Demonstrators surrounded all areas of City Hall, many with large banners reading “No Homeless Shelter” and similar phrases. The rally was so overcrowded that the majority of protestors were not let past the gates of City Hall where the main rally was held.

This was not the first demonstration against the proposed shelter. A large rally was held near the location in Bensonhurst back in March. The creation of the shelter has widespread opposition, with a petition surpassing 29,000 signatures.

Bensonhurst residents protest against the building homeless shelter in their neighorhood at City Hall. Photo: Supplied.

“The site is near homes, businesses, schools, senior centers, religious institutions and other key community assets, making it the wrong project in the wrong location,” said Assemblymember Colton, who called for permanent housing for the homeless in favor of temporary shelters.

“The only people who benefit from these homeless shelters are the developers and the operators of the shelters, who are draining millions of taxpayer dollars from city coffers that could instead be used to support a solution that would work for everyone," he said.

The fight to stop this shelter follows the successful campaign against a homeless shelter at 2147 Bath Avenue first proposed in 2021. Plans for that shelter were halted, and the same developer, Tejpal Sandhu is also behind the one on 86th street. The proposed location currently has a stop work order issued on April 26th , which will temporarily halt construction at the site.

Christopher Edwards

About the Author: Christopher Edwards

Christopher Edwards is a native Brooklynite and current student at Baruch College, majoring in Journalism and Creative Writing.
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