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New York Council Member Althea Stevens, The Fortune Society, Community Board 3 Issue Statement on Cancellation of 1209 Washington Avenue as Men’s Re-Entry Facility

New York City Council Member Althea Stevens, The Fortune Society President & CEO JoAnne Page, and Community Board Executive Director Etta Ritter today issued the following statement after The Fortune Society indicated it would not move forward with the City of New York to develop 1209 Washington Avenue into a re-entry facility for men with prior criminal justice involvement.

A planned press conference to address the issue has been canceled as a result of The Fortune Society’s decision not to move forward with the project out of respect for the wishes of community members.

“I am grateful that The Fortune Society has decided not to continue with the planned men’s re-entry facility as The West Bronx is already oversaturated with shelters and supporting housing. This is a direct result of the unifying power of community members. It is vital we are working in partnership with city agencies to ensure we introduce housing projects that will have components to promote economic development, permanent housing, workforce development and community uplift, like other parts of the city,” said New Council Member Althea Stevens (District 16).

“At The Fortune Society, we believe strongly in being a good community partner, and that requires careful consideration when considering where to provide our supportive housing services. A basic principle of a fair city is one that ensures that all communities are treated equally,” said JoAnne Page, President & CEO of The Fortune Society. “We had wanted to locate a new transitional housing program for formerly incarcerated individuals at 1209 Washington Avenue, given our existing presence and investment in the community. However, since presenting the plan at the Community Board meeting, we have come to understand that 1209 Washington Avenue is not a suitable location. The district is one that already has accepted its fair share of affordable and supportive housing.

JoAnne Page added, “We are grateful to Councilmember Stevens, Assembly Member Jackson, Borough President Gibson, Community Board 3, and community leaders for engaging in respectful, productive conversations that clearly reflected the community’s already ample stock of supportive housing. These are the types of conversations, where people listen and provide fact-based positions, that lead to solutions that work for all. We also thank the City for understanding, and agreeing to explore other locations in the city. The need to provide affordable, supportive transitional housing for people with prior criminal justice involvement still exists, and we must work together on solutions that allow them a pathway forward to succeed in life.”

Etta Ritter, BX Community Board 3 District Manager, said, “Bronx Community Board Three is pleased to hear that the Fortune Society has agreed to withdraw its application at 1209 Washington Avenue. The community as a whole is happy to say that they were heard regarding why they were not in support of this location to house 74 males who are homeless or require post-release housing. The Fortune Society is a leading service provider in providing successful reentry services that promote incarceration alternatives. We are incredibly grateful for their careful consideration and thoughtful judgment. We are thankful for the time and effort that the Fortune Society put into reaching a fair and equitable decision. We are looking forward to their continued services within Community District Three.”

The Council Member noted that moving ahead the City and community must work together as partners to select an appropriate location.

“As we continue to effectively address and create substantial solutions for homeless families and individuals, it’s vital that elected officials, community members, non-profit organizations, and city agencies are working together in partnership to eliminate additional barriers in lower-income communities,” Council Member Stevens said. “The City’s administration should be working as a collective to support this issue, and not leave the weight on the shoulders of communities in The West Bronx.”


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