Tuesday, November 24, 2015


The Kensington, a shelter for homeless families with children, will open on Monday, December 7th, across the street from Foodtown. The five-story, elevator building at 385 McDonald Avenue--between Albemarle Road and Church Avenue--will be a temporary home to sixty-four families. They will occupy the facility's sixty-four units, each of which contains two bunk beds, one single bed, and a bathroom.

The building was constructed as an assisted living facility (The Savoy at Kensington) and was most recently used as housing for college students (University Place). For a time, it provided refuge for victims of Hurricane Katrina. 

The non-profit organization CAMBA will operate the shelter. The services it provides include "three meals a day, shower and laundry facilities, access to clothing, storage for client belongings, mail and telephone services, case management, recreational activities, medical and mental health services, substance abuse treatment, referrals to rehabilitation facilities and other services."

CAMBA works "in partnership with the Department of Homeless Services and other leaders in government and the private sector." Its goal is to provide emergency housing and supportive services to homeless people to help them transition into permanent housing.

This transitional residence will be one of eight that CAMBA operates, including the Park Slope Women's Shelter in the former armory building on 8th Avenue, between 14th and 15th streets. It will be the first shelter for homeless people within the borders of Community Board 12.

Last night (Monday), local officials, school principals, and the 66th Precinct met at Windsor Terrace Library to discuss placing a shelter for homeless people in Kensington. Several neighborhood residents were in attendance, having learned about the meeting just hours before it began. The city is not required to give notice to anyone prior to opening a shelter, although the current administration does give seven days' notice.

As of September 23, 2015, the vacancy rate in New York City shelters was 0.84 percent for those that accommodate families with children; the vacancy rate for adult family shelters was 0.48 percent. The low vacancy rate triggered an emergency provision, so new shelters are continuously being constructed and existing buildings are being converted for use as shelters.