Headlines from the New York Times for Thursday, January 11, 2018
Down the Aisles, a Secret Shelter for the Homeless
Between the racks of canned beans and rolls of toilet paper in a bodega in Borough Park, Brooklyn, a staircase hides beside the shelves.
It leads to a cavern where, for the past 14 years, the bodega owner has quietly housed scores of homeless men, some with violent pasts and mental illness. He takes them in, from local park benches and street corners, unable to bear the idea of anyone out in the cold.
Here, beneath the shelves of instant soup and paper towels is an unauthorized shelter in its most primal form — a dank unfinished basement, cavelike and fetid, where the men sleep on pallets amid pools of dark water on the cement floor.
But there is real warmth, the men say. It comes from behind the deli counter, where seven days a week, stands the welcoming bodega owner, Candido Arcángel.
The shop is zoned for commercial use, and the basement does not have the required certificate of occupancy to permit people to live there. Mr. Arcángel has not made the necessary applications to the Department of Buildings to convert it into habitable space, which would require an inspection to determine if it is safe to do so.
The absence of permits has not deterred Mr. Arcángel, who says his reasoning for opening his basement to the homeless is simple. “Because they don’t have,” he said. “And I do.”
Readings from Proverbs for Thursday, January 11, 2018
Proverbs 10.9, 11-12 – Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever follows perverse ways will be found out. The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.
Prayers for Thursday, January 11, 2018
Dear God, please help us who have resources to assist those who don’t.