NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - For all the poor press shelters get, The Kensington, named after the Brooklyn neighborhood in which it sits, is a source of optimism. But there were concerns in the beginning.
Catherine Barufaldi, a volunteer at The Kensington, said many in the neighborhood were against the shelter. They were worried about all the stereotypes people have about homelessness: drug use, violence, dropping property values, and more.
But Barufaldi and a small group of others initially changed their mindset. A year and a half after they were blindsided with the news of a shelter, they have rallied around the idea and the clients and have begun to challenge their own bias and look at the neighbors as people not problems.
Queenisa Mitchell, a client at The Kensington, said she was in school at LaGuardia Community College when she and her sons moved in.
Today the 400 or so volunteers operate using a shared email list. They host holiday parties and donate their time and money. As the mayor's new Turn the Tide initiative rolls out along with a plan to open 90 new community-based shelters, there is optimism that those on stable ground will lift their neighbors.