“This past Thursday, NYC Health + Hospitals (H+H) voted to move forward on the Just Home project at Jacobi Hospital. After months of hearing from local residents, it is clear that the community does not want this project to proceed. We have heard numerous concerns about how this will affect the safety and well-being of people living in the neighborhood, and, while H+H and the Fortune Society have made efforts to mitigate these concerns, it is clear not enough has been done for the community to feel comfortable with this project.

Unfortunately, I have seen some of the opposition to this project devolve into rude and threatening behavior, thinly veiled racism, and unacceptable vitriol. I was particularly concerned to see serious inappropriate behavior and rhetoric at the Bronx Community Board 11 meeting to discuss this project that was not reflective of our borough and must not be how we express our support or opposition to city proposals.

Over the two years I have been Borough President, I am proud to have supported the creation of hundreds of units of housing in our borough. Every community must contribute to the creation of more housing for our city to successfully combat the housing crisis. However, I believe that housing must be contextual to the neighborhood. What works in one part of the city does not necessarily work in another. I also believe that there are better uses for this land.

The location on Jacobi’s campus is underutilized, and, instead of being used for this project, it should instead be developed in ways that benefit the community as a whole. Our team heard numerous ideas from community members for how to better utilize this space, including calls for a women’s health center with a focus on maternal health and domestic violence or for the return of a blood center in the Bronx. We have also heard calls for more community space, a youth center, or housing for seniors or veterans that would cater to their unique medical needs. I do not believe these alternatives were adequately explored before the decision to move forward with the Just Home proposal.

The overall goal of H+H and the Fortune Society is positive, and the city must do more to find permanent housing solutions for formally incarcerated New Yorkers, particularly those who would otherwise be unhoused. However, I do not believe this project at this particular site is the correct way to move forward, and therefore, I cannot support it at this time.”