Caring for the Hungry and Homeless of Peekskill, Inc. (CHHOP) has officially filed for a zoning text amendment with the City of Peekskill to relocate the Jan Peek House Shelter from North Water Street to 851 Washington Street.
If a special use permit is approved by the Common Council, the zoning law change would apply to all districts in the city, thus allowing shelters in any C-3 zones. Separate approvals would be needed from the city’s planning and zoning boards.
City Manager Richard Leins said Friday CHHOP submitted its application on January 18 and the request was being reviewed by planning staff. He said the council would likely address the matter at a work session in about a month.
The Jan Peek Shelter, the only year-round, 24-hour shelter for homeless adults in northern Westchester, has been open on the banks of the Hudson River since 1988.
In September, CHHOP Executive Director Cynthia Knox said her organization did an extensive search and settled on 851 Washington Street since it can be renovated to serve its needs and is close to a bus stop.
The building on Washington Street was purchased by CHHOP for about $900,000 and is in dire need of expensive repairs. Knox has said the new location will provide enhanced services to its clients, including many veterans. A major attraction of the new facility will be a dedicated space where those in need of emergency services can stay during the day. Currently, those individuals must leave the shelter at 6 a.m. on most days because CHHOP does not have space to accommodate them.
In addition, the new site provides for shared rooms by a couple of residents, as well as a kitchen rated for cooking, rather than just warming. Other plans for the new facility include moving the entrance to the back of the building, as well as creating a covered outdoor space. The new shelter is planned to have 35 beds.
More than 1,000 signatures have been received to date on a petition opposing the shelter’s move, with nearby residents and business owners citing safety concerns and frequent police activity that the existing shelter attracts.
Philip Miller, owner of the current shelter on North Water Street, has stated he offered the city a proposal for the relocation of the shelter to city-owned property on Corp Drive, off Highland Avenue. Miller said he would construct a 50,000-square-foot building, which could be shared by the shelter and a new Peekskill Department of Public Works.
CHHOP is hoping to move the shelter by late 2019 or early 2020.