Providence House Proposed 60% Transitional Complex on Kosciuszko Raises Question of "Social" Service Saturation
Are service providers overdosing Bedford-Stuyvesant with affordable housing we can’t afford to have anymore? A nonprofit organization founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph has provided transitional and permanent housing for 30 years, twenty-seven of them in Community Board 3. Now they want to create affordable/supportive apartments at 273-277 Kosciusko, including 26 apartments for formerly homeless women with a history of incarceration, graduating from Providence House’s other transitional housing programs. They say 40% of the housing will be available to neighborhood residents who meet low income criteria, but its the 60% we’re concerned about. We believe everyone should have a place to go. But how many more transitional places can Bedford Stuyvesant hold. Not to mention, the personal demons that transitional residents face — echoed all around them in the many transitional, supportive and social services facilities in the area. By bringing in even more, there is the creation of an enabling community. And if each housing area has only a 20% recidivism rate, then with the concentration of facilities creates a critical mass of negativity, posing a threat to the family-centered strivings of the hosting community. That the provider wants to bring former Bedford-Stuyvesant residents back to where they’ll find former acquaintances, seems to suggest Providence is tone deaf to the nature of toxic relationships. We know there’s no use in recommending Providence build academies and learning centers. But this is exactly what we need — institutions that encourage healthy life choices and real independent living. Now that’s something we can afford to have in this community.