Best Comment Of The Day: Showing Compassion
Michael Reiss has left the following comment on the post "Informational Meeting On Proposed Carroll Gardens Homeless Shelter Set For October 24th":
"Wow is all I have to say. This community is hardly a community if there is not yet one comment to suggest how to integrate the less fortunate into Carroll Gardens. I have had friends go homeless and I worked as an advocate for the homeless while at a facility in Cobble Hill. In fact the facility in Cobble Hill, Baltic Street Mental Health, (at 250 Baltic St., between Court and Clinton) has been there many, many years and has functioned very well. The people there who come to seek housing are mostly unfortunate low-income people who have fallen on hard times, like anyone who isn't fortunate enough to come from a wealthy background or who has the means or the resources to buy property or rent some expensive pad. Or who were born orphans and never had a shot. Or their entire families have died and things didn't work out too well since then - no happy ending. I've seen the sadness of seeing some of my clients denied housing for petty, bureaucratic reasons and having to sleep on the subway or evade the criminality of the NYPD's harassment and having to evade the scorn of many New York residents who do so little to contribute to the homeless issue here in our midst. You complain and you whine and you piss and moan, as Lander does, and you blame it all on Bloomberg, but you don't get down to helping people, your other brothers and sisters in arms in this city, the homeless and the indigent.
The reactions by all of you here show a distinct elitist and shallow, uneducated reaction to your less fortunate fellow New Yorkers. I absolutely think you all should show some empathy and find a way to welcome them to the neighborhood and make it better for everyone. Try to open your hearts, rather than closing them and turning your hearts into useless black lumps. You are all too concerned about yourselves and your perfect, flawless lives to realize that the world is the sum of all of its parts. It is not just thinking about your family's welfare and your own welfare - community implies caring about strangers and anyone who sets foot in our neighborhood, showing an interest because you care, not because you want to find out if they are going to jeopardize some fantasy that Carroll Gardens is or ever was some idyllic urban utopia. Show the compassion and heart that you like to think is in you, that you say is in you when you tell yourself that you're a "good person".
I'm sure that many of you will continue to try to brand the new shelter as a crack den and a magnet for the people you don't care to have around you, the less fortunate and people who have had no good breaks. You will continue to act in clannish and reactive ways, thinking you are preserving something sacred, rather than realizing that your selfish reaction is only making the community worse and more sour, more bitter, more intractably cruel and unyielding. I suppose you haven't noticed them on Court St. and Smith St. all these years. Or in Carroll Park and other parks. Or wandering around and panhandling in your midst, as you take refuge in another big meal or lavish entertainment. Or slipping further from having a life because you all are too concerned with your children's perfect upbringings in this beautiful neighborhood. The lack of charity is horrifying among all of my fellow residents here in Carroll Gardens - it is seeming to confirm the worst qualities coming to dominate situations that could be embraced as opportunities for soulfulness and creativity and miracles, rather than your fearful, divisive, protective tactics."