Brooklyn Heights Synagogue Homeless Shelter Makes a Switch

The Brooklyn Heights Synagogue’s homeless shelter, which had been open to only women, will now be available to men only. This comes as a nearby CAMBA shelter for men announced that it is closing. The BHS shelter has 10 beds and many of them go unoccupied, according to a report in the Brooklyn Eagle. Any women who need assistance are now being redirected to a facility in Lower Manhattan.

The shelter is also asking for volunteers. You may sign up at the BHS website.

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  • Lori

    Which nearby CAMBA shelter is closing?

  • Gerry

    Is CAMBA the Church Avenue Merchants Block Association? I did not know that CAMBA had a shelter around here.

  • really

    As a BHS member, I’m pretty appalled by this change (that was not voted upon by the congregation). When it was a women’s shelter, it was a great program and even the older children in the congregation were able to help and work with the shelter. That will no longer be an option. And to ask for outside volunteers on top of all this change is crazy – this could just be disastrous for the synagogue.

  • Heightsocrat

    OMG This is indeed terrible news. Certainly there is a more appropriate place for this sort of thing. Why on earth put the homeless in The Heights, it’s so out of place here.

  • Joe A

    I hope you are being snarky and sarcastic. Right?

  • Gerry

    Your comment sounds like something these freaks would try to pin on me.

  • Gerry

    This is a beautiful synagogue a wonderful congregation which has embraced many downtrodden here in Brooklyn Heights who are not homeless – yet. We hope it is not disastrous.

  • TheHeights

    Really? Can you please explain why any members of the congregation will no longer have the option to help people who have fallen on hard times? I can’t think of a better, kinder action, particularly at a house of worship?

  • CAMBA

    In the early ‘80s, the city’s faith community responded to the skyrocketing homeless crisis by organizing small, welcoming overnight shelters, operated by caring volunteers. The Brooklyn Heights Synagogue was one
    of the first faith groups to open a shelter, and it has been operating continuously ever since.

    We share this background to remind the Heights community that the BHS overnight shelter has a long, stable – and safe — history. And for many of its almost three decades, it served only men.

    CAMBA wants to reassure neighbors that the BHS respite
    shelter will remain safe. All of the guests are carefully screened; volunteer leaders are trained and experienced. Families (children included) volunteer at many of the CAMBA faith shelters that serve men, as well as those serving women, and are welcome to help at BHS.

    CAMBA’s request to the BHS shelter to accept men was made simply to match resources with needs. It was underutilized by women, and two of our other faith shelters, which serve men, were not able to operate this winter.

    We are grateful to the synagogue, the Heights community and the compassionate volunteers who open their hearts and give so generously of their time to provide a hospitable, homey space for our neighbors without
    homes.

  • harumph

    I can understand this sentiment – it will be quite a change from a women’s shelter, to say otherwise is just not being truthful.

  • Teresa

    For years Assumption on Cranberry has had a men’s homeless shelter–as no commenter thus far seems to be aware of that, I guess it hasn’t meant the end of the neighborhood, eh?

  • Heightsocrat

    Honestly Joe, do you want the neighborhood to become a haven for the homeless? I’m all for charity, every year, my husband and I donate what most would consider a comfortable salary to philanthropic organizations. But there is a proper place for everything and the heights is not a homeless shelter. Besides, don’t you think is kind of cruel to house less fortunate souls here only to have the good life rubbed in their faces? a life they will never live. I think it better they stay in an area closer to their class. I’m sure they would get along better with the natives there than here.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    WOW I was going to take this one to task but I think I’ll just go out for a drink instead…

  • harumph

    @TheHeights I think what @Really is talking about is not letting the younger set, the children, work the shelter, not the adults.

  • Joe A

    What a repulsive response.

  • Joe A

    Thank-you for your efforts to help the less fortunate.

  • Gerry

    @ Heightscrat – you make a valid point.

  • TheHeights

    To be clear, when I say “any,” I mean from the youngest members to the oldest. I don’t see how this change would prevent children from helping out with the shelter.

  • GHB

    The natives? Did you really say that?!?!

  • harumph

    @theheights, do you have a an 11 or 12 year old girl or boy that you
    would like spend the night with the men shelter? get real.

  • Gerry

    @ harump we agree that volunteerism has its limits. Our children are working on a large gift basket full of toiletries, gloves, hats, and a few goodies for the men. Parents see that kids can not be alone in a shelter no matter how nice the homeless people are.

  • harumph

    @Gerry, I know that the 12 and 13 year olds were able to work the shelter shifts when it was a women’s shelter

  • Joe A

    harrumph with all due respect the main purpose of a shelter is to help the homeless, not to supply your children with volunteer opportunities.

    As was previously stated, when it was a woman’s shelter it was underutilized. As a men’s shelter it will be able to provide more services for those that need it. That seems to be an appropriate priority.

  • harumph

    @JoeA BHS is a synagogue first and foremost and the dues paid by the congregation allow the use of the space to exist – part of which can be used as a shelter in the winter. This is not a pure shelter in the sense that it is a city run program. The purpose is not only to help outside the synagogue but to teach within what it means to help.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    Why, do you think women are less likely to be psychos. If so, you should meet a couple of my exes.

  • Gerry

    Judy Stanton is a wonderful woman.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    Perhaps she is but she’s no relation to me.

  • Gerry

    We had though that Judy Stanton was one of your ex-wives or current wife but that confused us because Judy is a private person a very private person and you are not as private. Too bad the news is out Judy Stanton had been a complimentry figure next to you and now you dont have that compliment.

  • Prom Gal

    For as long as I can remember, Brooklyn Heights faith based institutions have housed the homeless during the winter months on a rotation basis.
    Plymouth Church, Grace Church, and Brooklyn Heights Synagogue have provided a warm clean bed and a home cooked meal, fellowship, conversation, and support to those less fortunate than ourselves. Many of us have volunteered to spend the night, have dinner with them, and listen to their stories.
    We have always come away from that experience enriched, and more understanding of the human condition. The negative stereotypes expressed by some on this blog are not a reflection of the actual situation, but of a smug superiority and lack of human compassion for one’s fellow human beings. Many of the people served by the faith based shelter program are down on their luck, out of a job, divorced, without families of their own.
    The men are bussed to the churches late afternoon, from a central Location in Manhattan. They have dinner, spend the night, and are picked up in the morning.
    I am appalled at some of the cold inhumane, and un-Christian comments I have been reading on this blog. Good Lord, how this neighborhood has changed in just a few years.

    “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
    Hebrews 13:2. (KJV)

  • Gerry

    Many of these comments that are “un-Chrstian” are from peoople who are not Chrstian. This is a synagogue no Chrstians here. These remarks as cold as they may sound — I strongly suspect some valid points are made here.