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Salvation Army Closing Downtown Shelter

by Paul Bass | May 14, 2014 5:08 pm

(12) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Housing, Social Services, Downtown

Paul Bass Photo (Updated Thursday 12:59 p.m.) A gentrifying downtown block will soon lose some of its most struggling denizens, as the Salvation Army prepares to shut down a George Street rehab facility.

The 40 or so men who live in the Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) at 301 George St. learned Monday morning that the facility will close on June 16. The evangelical Christian charitable organization—which allows men in recovery or otherwise unable “to cope with their problems and provide for themselves” to live mostly for free in return for participating in “work therapy” for the group—has promised to find the men spots in other regional facilities.

The Army is closing its ARC in Bridgeport, as well, merging it and the New Haven operation into its Hartford facility. The organization just closed its last outpost in lower Manhattan’s Bowery.

The Army decided to merge the Connecticut ARCs in the interest of efficiency, according to Trish Raines, spokeswoman for the “Eastern territory.” She said she didn’t know if the organization plans to sell the two-story 4,536-square-foot brick George Street building, which was constructed in 1900. It’s attached to another 1900 brick building, which has 7,834 square feet and which the program uses for meetings. The property includes a 6,576-square-foot warehouse as well.

The Army also owns a 9,360-square-foot family thrift store directly behind the George Street ARC, at 274 Crown St. Raines said Wednesday the Army has “no plans to close the store at this time.”

(Update: Another Salvation Army spokesperson emailed this information on Thursday: “A satellite intake office will be opening at the Army’s New Haven Citadel Corps Community Center on George Street. It will provide initial intake counseling and referrals for area residents interested in our services and transportation to the Hartford program will be provided free of charge to those accepted. Also, the rehabilitation center is funded mainly through in-kind donations of clothing, furniture and other household items that are sorted and recycled or sold in The Salvation Army’s Family Thrift Stores throughout the state and, as Trish confirmed for you, there are no plans to close the New Haven store.)

As the Army has been ministering to the needy and the poor (as well as to bargain hunters) at those two locations, the surrounding block has gentrified. A popular brick-oven pizza and drinking establishment, bar, opened up. A developer recently won approval to convert a dilapidated parking garage next to the thrift store, at the corner of Crown and High, into 24 modern market-rate apartments. The biggest change: As the ARC boarders clear out, right next door a construction crew (pictured above) is busy digging up half the block to construct a $50 million project called “College & Crown” (pictured below) with 160 luxury apartments and ground-floor retail.

CenterplanTenants shuttling Tuesday evening in and out of the ARC, which is set back from George in a parking lot across from the 300 George St. biotech center, expressed dismay at the news. They declined to be identified by name or photographed.

“Right now people are upset,” said one. “There’s a lot of turmoil.”

“It’s kind of a bummer. I hate to see the place go. I don’t know if I’ll go to another facility, or if I’ll go on my own,” said another.

A third boarder, who said his nine months at the ARC have “helped me get clean,” said he “would have hoped they would have told us a little sooner” than this past Monday that the center will close on June 16.

Captain Bayode Agbaje, the Army official in charge of the George Street ARC, and Major Dean L. Satterlee, who oversees the local Army HQ up the street at 450 George (which he said is staying put), declined to comment for this article.

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posted by: fastdriver on May 14, 2014  7:52pm

Just when people are searching the New Haven streets for the homeless in the hopes of getting them a place to live, THIS pops up! How sad! What does The Salvation Army do with all their money?

posted by: Threefifths on May 14, 2014  8:05pm

People wake up.I keep telling you.The Gentrification vampires are coming.Look at what happen to the Manhattan’s Bowery.

Down and Out and ... Up and In on the Bowery
From the Whitehouse Hotel, the street’s last SRO, to the door (manned by red-coated doormen) of the Bowery Hotel is only 35 steps for a reporter—but a giant leap into the rebranded, denatured future of America’s greatest skid row.

http://nymag.com/news/features/41818/


New Haven will be next.

Bowery Gentrification Enters Final Phase With $20,000 Rentals
Tuesday, June 1, 2010, by Joey Arak


http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/06/01/bowery_gentrification_enters_final_phase_with_20000_rentals.php

Bowery’s Shelter-to-Sushi Conversion Comes in Peace
Tuesday, July 14, 2009, by Joey Arak

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2009/07/14/bowerys_sheltertosushi_conversion_comes_in_peace.php


Like I said.Read this book.The same thing is going on in New Haven.

City for Sale: Ed Koch and the Betrayal of New York


http://www.nationinstitute.org/featuredwork/books/1287/city_for_sale:_ed_koch_and_the_betrayal_of_new_york/

posted by: Esbey on May 14, 2014  9:04pm

For once, commenter ThreeFifth’s cry of “gentrification” may have some real bite.  301 George is nice old building, but it is far back from the street behind a parking lot and that side of the block is really junky.  The Salvation Army can probably sell the property for some real money, which will help fund its mission at other locations.

It would have been nice to see an integrated solution, developing the property as a mix of market-rate uses and supportive housing for the current tenants.

posted by: DrFeelgood on May 14, 2014  11:11pm

Lots of great development going on in this area and definitely great for New Haven as it continues to become a more lively and inviting city. It is too bad though that they have to close this shelter. Let’s hope these people can find another place to go ASAP.  Can’t wait to hear 3fifths wonder comments on gentrification.

posted by: Kevin on May 15, 2014  9:55am

3/5ths, we get it. Gentrification is happening in New Haven and elsewhere (although its role in this development is unclear in light of the Sally Army’s decision to close its center in Bridgeport, where gentrification appears to be very limited). The issue is, what do you propose to do to address its impacts and how do you propose to pay for your solution?

posted by: Threefifths on May 15, 2014  10:15am

posted by: fastdriver on May 14, 2014 7:52pm

Just when people are searching the New Haven streets for the homeless in the hopes of getting them a place to live, THIS pops up! How sad! What does The Salvation Army do with all their money?

The salvation army is selling all of there Buildings.I spoke to people in New York and they told me this has been on the table for years.

Demolition of the Salvation Army’s former East Village Residence.

http://evgrieve.com/2013/12/permits-filed-to-demolish-former.html

http://evgrieve.com/2014/01/the-salvation-armys-former-east-village.html


Like I said The Gentrification Vampires are coming.

posted by: Threefifths on May 15, 2014  12:10pm

@: DrFeelgood and Kevin.


I agree with this. Here is four alternative to “gentrification”


1.Push fine grained development instead of large, mega-block developments. When large developers are the primary landowners and the only players in the development game, gentrification happens more quickly as profit trumps community concerns.

2.Encourage self-investment.When people begin to invest in their own homes instead of government targeting a specific location for investment, this acts as revitalization without the ill-effects of intense investment in a neighborhood

3.Implement blanket city policies for revitalization, rather than piecemeal reactive policies intended to halt displacement. Blanket city policy puts in place the effect of “a rising tide lifts all boats” whereas targeted geographically-based policies can result in pockets of gentrification

4.Don’t try to make over existing urban neighborhoods into the posh suburban look and feel you may be used to. Respect and maintain the eclectic, diverse and colorful vibe that attracted you to the urban neighborhood in the first place.

posted by: robn on May 15, 2014  1:01pm

3/5,

The so called “gentrification vampires” are the ones who generate tax revenues that pay for homeless shelters. In the case of SA, they must depend upon creative income (donations, sale of donated items, and yes, sale of property…that’s the reality of a charity) Housing the homeless in prime downtown real estate makes no sense whatsoever.

posted by: Threefifths on May 15, 2014  4:21pm

posted by: robn on May 15, 2014 1:01pm

3/5,

The so called “gentrification vampires” are the ones who generate tax revenues that pay for homeless shelters. In the case of SA, they must depend upon creative income (donations, sale of donated items, and yes, sale of property…that’s the reality of a charity) Housing the homeless in prime downtown real estate makes no sense whatsoever.

The also make people homeless.Check this out.

Brooklyn landlords illegally harassed, targeted rent-stabilized tenants: suit
The plaintiffs, represented by Legal Services NYC lawyers, say they were victims of a pattern of harassment, neglect and frivolous housing lawsuits designed to force them out to make room for new tenants paying double — even several times — the rent.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/landlords-harassed-targeted-rent-stabilized-tenants-suit-article-1.1757051


It has got so bad Gov. Cuomo had to do this.

EXCLUSIVE: Landlord accused of trashing apartments to boot rent-regulated tenants hit with subpoena by Gov. Cuomo
The state Tenant Protection Unit served the subpoena Wednesday on JBI Management, whose principals Joel and Aaron Israel own 10 buildings in gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhoods. Tenants complained to the unit that workers entered their apartments to do repairs — only to use sledgehammers to destroy kitchens and bathrooms.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/exclusive-landlord-accused-trashing-apartments-boot-tenants-hit-subpoena-article-1.1767011

New haven will be next.In fact Read this one just off the press.

City Hall Tells New Hill Occupiers To Pack Up.

http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/homeless_tents_go_up_on_community_garden/

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on May 15, 2014  5:45pm

3/5ths,

Several years ago when Shaw’s on Whalley Avenue closed, many people said it was due to it being located in New Haven and that chronic shoplifting caused the New Haven one to close, despite the fact that Shaw’s closed statewide.

You’re using the same argument when you conflate gentrifiers with the closing of this Salvation Army even though the Bridgeport one is also closing in order to merge into a larger facility in Hartford.

By conflating these two things, you’re distracting from the otherwise valid points you’re making.

Downtown is gentrifying AND Salvation Army is closing. Salvation Army IS NOT closing BECAUSE OF gentrification. They are separate.

I happen to think that much of New Haven needs some gentrification, and I also think some parts of the city need increased accessibility for people with lower incomes (affordability). I agree that there is a point where places can become overly gentrified and become exclusionary, but I also think that places can become overly affordable ie decayed, neglected, abandoned, etc.

That is the story of city growth - existing neighborhoods become less desirable and therefore more affordable/accessible as new, exclusionary neighborhoods are built; eventually investment comes back full circle into the neglected and decaying older neighborhoods to infuse new life in them. Downtown is still recovery from the 80’s and it could use some more gentrification until the balance is about right. I don’t think we are at the point yet where Downtown has become exclusionary due to being overly gentrified.

The point to be made about gentrification is that it should not be allowed to go too far, not that it shouldn’t exist at all. Protections should be in place to maintain minimum levels of affordability, for sure, but Downtown still has a ways to go before its as bad as Manhattan.

posted by: Threefifths on May 15, 2014  9:33pm

@ Jonathan Hopkins

The point to be made about gentrification is that it should not be allowed to go too far, not that it shouldn’t exist at all. Protections should be in place to maintain minimum levels of affordability, for sure, but Downtown still has a ways to go before its as bad as Manhattan.

My point.Where are the Protections.There are none.

posted by: Threefifths on May 15, 2014  9:52pm

@ Jonathan Hopkins

Here is a good read.

Gentrify This? The Dark Side of Gentrification.

Gentrification, sometimes hiding behind the pleasant term “urban renewal”, results when wealthier individuals purchase or rent property in low-income and working class communities and alter the neighborhood, often driving up property taxes and housing values.  Most often associated with urban neighborhood change through the migration of more affluent persons into poorer neighborhoods, gentrification increases the average area income and frequently decreases average family size.  Poorer long-time residents (poor, elderly, working class, and minorities) are displaced due to their inability to afford increased property taxes, rising housing prices, and far higher rents brought on by gentrification.  Warehouses, industrial buildings and homes previously divided into apartment dwellings are renovated and converted into residences, condos, and high-end shops. In driving up property tax evaluations, housing values, and rents, the inner city is morphed into a suburb within a city.  The neighborhood’s social character changes, yet somewhere else in the city another blighted neighborhood grows poorer and more dangerous from folks being forced out of the gentrified neighborhood.  The elderly, the poor, and minority working class folks can’t carry their previously owned homes and apartments with them.  They take a major hit when gentrification moves in and they are forced out.

http://rowanfreepress.com/2012/11/22/gentrify-this-the-dark-side-of-gentrification/

Like I said keep a eye on New Haven.

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