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Block Report: Aug 14th Aladdin CAB Meeting

posted Aug 17, 2012, 6:08 AM by David Stuart   [ updated Aug 22, 2012, 9:32 AM ]
On Aug. 14, 2012 Speaker Quinn's office called a Community Action Board meeting regarding the Aladdin Homeless shelter located at 317 W 45th St (a list of meeting attendees is attached to this post). The p
urpose was to follow-up on concerns raised at our June 28, 2012 public meeting relating to the noise, loitering, public safety and quality of life complaints reported by block residents, and the terrible living conditions reported by Aladdin residents. The meeting began with a frank acknowledgment by Speaker Quinn's office that whatever gains or improvements were made in the past have been lost through neglect and inaction.

On the positive side, real improvements have been made since our June 28th meeting. These include:
- Reduction of loitering
- Fans installed in all non-permanent resident's windows (for cooling)
- Brackets installed on windows to prevent opening (to address garbage, heavy objects, and urine being thrown from windows)
- New tile, sinks and fixtures in bathrooms / new paint
- Clean-up of Triton Gallery patio
- Regular clean-up of trash in front of building
- Air-conditioned lobby (and chairs) made available for residents' use

These improvements are encouraging and have had a direct, positive effect on the block. We are grateful for the leadership of Melanie Larocca and Michaela Miller of Speaker Quinn's office, and pleased that the Aladdin, DHS, and Housing Solutions USA are now taking problems seriously and making improvements. There is still much to be done, and Speaker Quinn's office will be organizing monthly CAB meetings to monitor progress, identify new or ongoing issues, and find and implement workable solutions. Ideas discussed at this first of our ongoing monthly meetings include:

  1. Reinstituting incident reports from community – via email form – of disturbances/problems so action can be taken immediately by Aladdin management.
    Form to be provided by Speaker Quinn's office*
  2. Additional security guards (2) per shift 
  3. More training for security guards  - especially in conflict resolution
  4. Opening patio (which will be further cleaned and spruced up) for resident use
  5. Microwaves to be installed for resident use
  6. Jobs training center (real rather than cosmetic) in the Triton Gallery space
  7. Periodic tours of the Aladdin for small groups - dates and times TBD

* It was acknowledged that block residents cannot possibly report all (or even most) of the incidents that occur inside and outside the Aladdin and throughout the neighborhood, but will report those they witness firsthand.

In addition to the above changes, we learned a new elevator had been installed in the building, which is why it was out of service for 3 months. The time frame for opening the employment office and the hours residents will have access to the patio are TBD and will be provided by Housing Solutions USA at next month's CAB meeting.

Overall this was a productive beginning. However, to be successful, all participants must remain actively involved in identifying issues and implementing real, effective solutions. Thanks to all those who attended and who are putting so much effort into improving the quality of life for all the residents and visitors of 45th street.

David Stuart,
Aug 22, 2012, 9:32 AM