Pictured above from left: Kayde Thompson, Executive Director of Broken But Not Destroyed, with clients
A human drama is unfolding in the Town of Hempstead as its buildings department under newly elected Town Supervisor Laura Gillen is threatening to expel 35 mothers and children from a homeless shelter in Franklin Square.
The shelter is operated by the nonprofit agency Broken But Not Destroyed under contract with the Nassau County Department of Social Services. The agency faces a court hearing in Hempstead on September 13
th to face charges of local code violations, including operating without a permit or certificate of occupancy, over-occupancy in bedroom areas and illegal use in a residential district.
The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance has determined that the shelter meets all New York State health and safety requirements, as it is operating in a former convent owned and operated by St. Catherine of Sienna Parish. The church leased the facility to Broken But Not Destroyed, but then started an action to invalidate the agency’s lease after a raucous meeting of church members and the community
covered by News 12
The shelter opened in April after a State Supreme Court judge ruled that the church had no grounds to void the shelter’s lease. Under NYS social services law, the state has jurisdiction over shelter facilities and it says the facility complies with all state health and safety requirements.
A month ago the dispute turned more ugly, as a shelter van in the convent’s parking lot was broken into and vandalized, allegedly in full view of church staff and parishioners. It unfolded on a
made available to Nassau County Police, with whom the shelter agency filed a complaint. The agency’s Executive Director, Kayde Thompson, says the tape clearly shows a man take out an illegal “Slim Jim”, open the van door, and then rifle through it with a flashlight as church associates look on, The man, whom she identifies as a retired cop, allegedly stole $400. So far, the police have made no arrests.
CHI Executive Director Alexander Roberts says he will attend the hearing at 9 am in First District Court in Hempstead on September 13
th to show his support for the shelter. “All communities,” he said, “have an obligation to do their fair share, and imagine what it says to other municipalities if the Town of Hempstead can make special rules to exclude homeless families in Franklin Square.”