BY ANGELA MATUA
Frustrations boiled over in Rochdale Village Thursday night as residents couldn’t get any answers about a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center that may be relocating to the community.
Representatives from the Faith Mission Crisis Center and the Holy Unity Baptist Church, along with Assemblywoman Vivian Cook, were invited to the special forum to explain the proposal, but failed to attend.
State Sen. James Sanders Jr. was the lone scheduled speaker to appear at the housing cooperative’s grand ballroom Thursday. Sanders said he appreciates the work the rehabilitation center is doing but that “we are going to have to draw the line on this one.”
The crisis center is currently located at 114-40 Van Wyck Expwy. and is looking at possibly moving to the Holy Unity Baptist Church at 167-10 137th Ave. The relocated center would be a 30-day, short-term residential program with 60 beds, according to Rochdale Village Community Relations Committee member Hettie Powell.
Last week, representatives from the crisis center conducted a walk-through of the church facilities but have not been in touch with the church since then, according to Powell.
According to Community Relations Committee Co-Chair Talib Bey, a director of the Faith Mission Crisis Center was scheduled to attend the event but was told by his board members not to.
Attendees lined up to express their anger over this proposed rehabilitation center and the disorganization on the part of the committee board.
Resident Rodney Reid said the board should have met with the directors of Faith Mission Crisis Center before coming to the community. He was unhappy with the way the community was informed about this crisis center, he said.
“I got this information from social media on a Facebook page,” Reid said. “It wasn’t like we got this information from our public officials that there was a possibility that this was coming into play, so I think it’s disingenuous to say that we were informed by our public official.”
Lisa Hamlin, one of the younger residents to attend the meeting, said the church should be converted to a space for the children in the community.
“This community needs something other than Popeyes [or] another church. Churches are necessary but we need something to bring up the community,” Hamlin said. “We need something in the community for the younger children to do something other than go to jail, get arrested, possibly get shot.”
Maurice Lacey, executive director of Faith Mission Crisis Center, told The Courier in a phone interview that he was invited to the meeting at 10 p.m. the night before the meeting. He claimed he also heard that the church was negotiating a sale with another organization.
“There are no contracts signed,” Lacey said. “From my understanding, another organization is getting the property.”
He said the entire situation was “sad” and poorly planned by the organizers.
At the end of the meeting, Powell told residents that she had a conversation with Bishop Richard Moore of Holy Unity on Wednesday, and that Moore was under the impression the center was only an alcohol rehabilitation center.
Moore allegedly is in the process of working out a deal with another church to move in and share the services with the congregation that already exists there.
The Courier reached out to the church both through phone and email for comment, but neither was in service.