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Saying they already have their fair share, Chinatown residents strongly object to proposed homeless shelter on East Broadway

Residents pushing back at idea of additional homeless shelters in Chinatown 09:10

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Residents of Chinatown are pushing back on a plan to increase the number of homeless shelters in their neighborhood.

At issue is a proposed shelter scheduled to open next year on East Broadway. Residents say it will be the sixth shelter in their neighborhood and enough is enough, CBS2's Dana Tyler reported Monday.

The recent killing of Christina Yuna Lee, allegedly by a homeless man, has heightened their concerns.

City officials say the new shelter was planned after four homeless men were killed while sleeping on a Chinatown street in 2019. But since that time, anti-Asian crime is on the rise.

The hope now is that Mayor Eric Adams' new administration will reconsider the shelter plans.

Jacky Wong is a member of the Concerned Citizens of East Broadway. He represents a coalition of Chinatown residents and business owners concerned about safety.

Tyler asked what the group's objection to the proposed shelter is all about.

"We actually strongly believe shelters are needed for New York City, especially during COVID because homeless individuals need shelters to stabilize their life. However, all New York City shelters, especially Manhattan, congregate in neighborhoods such as Harlem, Midtown West and Chinatown-Lower East Side," Wong said.

"I mean, Chinatown already has five shelters. All of a sudden, they are dumping like four more shelters in our neighborhood. It's not just one, I'm not just talking about 91 East Broadway. There are three more shelters in the pipeline, all within a one-mile radius," Wong added. "We just don't know what to do. I understand people who think we are NIMBY, but the reality is we are already taking care of many homeless individuals and we have maxed out our capacity." 

CBS2 invited Department of Homeless Services to join the discussion, but instead it offered the following statement:

"After the tragic quadruple murders of four individuals in Chinatown in Fall 2019, elected officials and communities across the City called for concrete steps to strengthen our supports in the area for vulnerable New Yorkers living unsheltered — and we agreed, which is why we've sited these specialized resources in Chinatown, including Safe Havens and stabilization beds, which will provide a vital resource for individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness, particularly downtown. These low-barrier programs are tailored to support the unique needs individuals who've lived unsheltered and build on our commitment to expanding these specialized resources in this community and the broader borough of Manhattan."

For more information about the city's plans for the homeless, please click here.

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