Sheepshead Bay

Saperstein: Deutsch is failing to address Brooklyn’s homelessness

July 13, 2017 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Steve Saperstein says the homeless epidemic needs to be addressed. Photo courtesy of Steve Saperstein

Steve Saperstein Accuses Chaim Deutsch of Phony Photo Op

Steve Saperstein, the Republican candidate for City Council in Brooklyn’s 48th District (Sheepshead Bay-Brighton Beach) called out his opponent Councilmember Chaim Deutsch for failing to “tidy up” Brooklyn’s homeless problem.

Deutsch, a first-term councilmember, recently held a press conference underneath the Sheepshead Bay Road train station, where he posed with various city agencies and stated he would “monitor” the homeless situation.

“Not long after the cameras — and Chaim Deutsch — left the area, the homeless returned,” said Saperstein of the conference. “Children are seeing things that are not appropriate, and even adults cringe at these sights.

“The root problems of homeless people must be addressed,” he added. “Some are just folks down on their luck. Others have chemical dependencies. There are those with mental health issues. All of these individual issues must be addressed, and the homeless shelter intake must filter people according to what their core problem is.

“Every homeless shelter, every refuge we offer men, women and children in need must have the same security that City Hall and Gracie Mansion have,” Saperstein continued. “Let’s make sure our shelters are safe and secure, with the mayor’s home and office as the standard for security. Then no one will be afraid of city shelters.”

Saperstein told the Brooklyn Eagle he is “fed up” with election season tactics.

“For Deutsch to do a photo op and tidy the place up is an insult to the people of our community,” he said. “The conditions are just as bad as before and nothing has changed except Deutsch has a few pretty photos for his re-election campaign.

Saperstein also criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio, saying that his intentions in protecting the homeless population ignores their general well-being.

“There has been a gross mismanagement of the $1.77 billion funds directed towards the homeless crisis while the current councilman has done nothing but cozy up to this mayor,” he said. “Where is this money going? There is no accountability. The underlying problem is that the mayor’s actions and policies conflict with his core philosophies — letting people live in the street is not compassionate.”

When the Eagle reached out to Deutsch, he defended his position on homelessness, saying his constituents are aware of his “unwavering dedication to cleaning up our streets and tackling homelessness in our district. Working in partnership with our agencies and the NYPD, I have successfully reduced the homeless population in our community.”

Deutsch also noted his own struggle with poverty.

“Growing up impoverished, I remember the feeling when my parents did not know where the next rent check would come from, or how they would put food on the table the next day,” he said. “I have every sympathy for those New Yorkers who are struggling to the extent that they are living on the streets. This is why I have set up many homeless individuals with city services to assist with financial benefits.

“When Mayor [Rudy] Giuliani cleaned up our streets and subways in the ’90s, he effectively addressed the homeless problem. Since he left office, homelessness has been on the rise and we are in desperate need of reform. This is an issue that I have repeatedly brought up to this administration, and I remain committed to making real, sustainable change.”

Deutsch also said this is the first complaint from an opponent since he has been in office about a community issue.

“If [Saperstein] does call, he will find that I am not one to play politics, but instead to tackle concerns head-on. As always, I invite my constituents to reach out to me with their specific issues, so I may follow up.”