11/25/12

Coney Island Mission Verging on Homelessness

Brooklyn Paper Photo
Founded in 1987, the Salt and Sea Mission is not only a homeless shelter addressing basic human needs like food and clothing, its broad ministry includes detox, education and training, personal development, counseling, holiday events and youth programming.

Now the mission, after serving the homeless, battered women, and at-risk children for 26 years, is itself on the verge of homelessness.

Its landlord, Gargiulo’s Restaurant, is evicting the mission, located on the corner of Mermaid Avenue and W. 16th Street in Coney Island. Owner Nino Russo said the storm-ruined Italian restaurant needs the space in order to rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Pastor Debbe Santiago, herself a recovering addict who was formerly homeless, said that, although she doesn't blame Russo, the mission won't survive eviction.  Salt and Sea needs a physical address, she said, to be eligible for the government contracts that stock its food pantry and reimburse it for shelter care.

Santiago, who sits on Community Board 13, called the news of the eviction "heart-crushing". Because she hasn't been able to find another location for her mission, she said, she fears the consequences for those who have depended on it for help.

According to local civic leaders, the mission's fundraising efforts have fallen short lately.  As a result, it is six months in arrears on its rent.

Salt and Sea is reaching out to its supporters for assistance.  If you are able to help, contact Pastor Debbe Santiago at 718-372-3576 or at saltandsea1530@aol.com .

The article from Brooklyn Daily.

Russo postpones the eviction until after Christmas holidays [Brooklyn Daily.]

Courier: the mission finds a new home. 

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