March 28


Ralph Avenue Property Could Become Storage Site for Department of Homeless Services

March 28, 2022

The Department of Homeless Services is scouting out 1427 Ralph Avenue as a possible location to store their fleet of vehicles.

A presentation by the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and a motion to amend the bylaws of Community Board (CB18) were some of the topics on the agenda at the March 24th meeting of CB18.

DHS Deputy Commissioner Isaac Selolwane gave an informational presentation, introducing the agency’s desire to establish a fleet of vehicles at 1427 Ralph Avenue, between Chase and Preston Courts.

DHS is looking to move their fleet of 34 vehicles from its present warehouse location of over 21 years, on Farragut Road and East 101st Street, to 1427 Ralph Avenue.  The vehicles are used to distribute anything that is required in a homeless shelter such as beds and linens.  The fleet is also used to transport clients to their appointments, Selolwane said.  “It’s an integral part of what we do as an agency.”

He explained that DHS is primarily a social services agency that helps to take care of clients from a social services aspect.  His function at DHS is facilities and logistics, and DHS is looking for a suitable new location, as they can no longer stay at their present location.  “Ralph Avenue will help us maintain and increase our services within the DHS fleet system.  Our proposal is to house beds, vehicles and offices for our staff.”

Selolwane made it clear that the Ralph Avenue site would not act as a shelter. Purely an administrative and facilities site, there will be no clients at the location.  There will be a staff of 55 people, working two shifts, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 4 p.m. to midnight.  Security at the site will be provided 24/7.

When asked about maintenance of the vehicles, Selolwane said that all maintenance, including oil changes, would be done offsite.

As this presentation was an informal introduction, Selolwane said that once the ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) process goes into effect, he would return with a formal presentation to the board.  DHS is looking for a long-term lease of 15 to 25 years.

The board voted to approve an amendment to CB 18’s bylaws, with the purpose of reducing the number of standing committees.

The Bylaws Committee, appointed by CB18 Chairperson Michael Ien, with Judy Newton as Committee Chair, held two meetings, on February 28th and March 7th, to discuss the best way to combine the existing 14 committees while maximizing member involvement.  They voted to reduce the committees to nine by joining together those that share similar descriptions.  The Bylaws Committee also assured  that all board members were assigned to serve on a committee.

The new committees are Planning and Zoning, Environment and Sanitation (combined), Library and Education (combined), Housing, Youth, Social Services, Transportation, Public Safety and Parks.  Economic Development and Community Complaints were dissolved.

The next meeting of CB18 will take place on Wednesday, April 20th, in person at 1097 Bergen Avenue, and virtually.

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