Shelter planned at 1173 Bergen (near NY Ave) - Brooklynian

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Shelter planned at 1173 Bergen (near NY Ave)

Community Board No. 8 Invites You To An Informational Meeting on the proposed Homeless Shelter at 1173 Bergen Street for 100 single men aged 50+ SATURDAY MARCH 4, 2017 at 11AM at 1173 BERGEN STREET (BET. BROOKLYN & NEW YORK AVENUES) Representatives from NYC Department of Homeless Services, NYC Department of Social Services, Core Services, NYPD, and local Elected Officials will be present to answer your questions. Please come out and let your voice be heard! For additional information, please call 718-467-5574.1173

Comments

  • Well, there go the property values.
  • Those intimately familiar with the block know that it has served men with mental illness and addiction since at least 2013.

    http://www.brooklynian.com/discussion/38821/new-york-christian-center-academy-has-bamboozled-us
  • This may well be but there's a shelter on Atlantic between Eastern Pkwy and Georgia Ave that I pass by on my way home. Let's even forget about the loitering but the amount of garbage that the place generates is amazing plus the fact that the Salvation Army soup truck is there a couple of nights a week around dinner time and that leads to a decent sized crowd which also blocks the sidewalk. So, I wish the people in the area good luck.
  • I've been following all of the community displeasure with the various men's shelters in Greenpoint. 100+ men is a lot, especially for a residential community like this. 20-30, sure. 100? Whole other ball game. Plus, we already have a giant men's shelter at Atlantic and Bedford. 
  • I am sure the homeowners on Bergen will be none too pleased to hear of this plan.
  • edited February 27
    Shelters rarely have community support.

    ...that is why the city is only required to hold meetings notifying the community that they are coming, as opposed to trying to get their permission and support.image
  • https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20170228/crown-heights/homeless-shelter-crown-heights-bergen-street

    Well, it looks like this shelter is coming. Though that building is horrid. I guess it will be a very "sheltery" style shelter. Lack of windows makes me doubt that each individual will get their own room (or have to share with only one other person). 
  • edited February 28
    Perhaps interesting to hold the meeting on a Saturday morning when many of the area's "long-time" residents observe Sabbath.
  • The meetings are similar to those held by the MTA, re: upcoming fare hikes.

    Only a few members of the public believe their complaints will make a difference.

    Unsurprisingly, supporters are rare.
  • Apparently the 1173 Bergen Street site is the first of de Blasio's 90 new shelters planned.

  • edited February 28
    By announcing 90 shelters at once, DeBlasio seems to be trying to effectively insulate himself from claims that he is over saturating some neighborhoods.

    ...and therefore some races, classes, hues, election districts, community boards, etc.
  • For what it's worth, the homeless shelter is only for employed individuals so I'm hoping it won't bring a ton of loiterers around the area, especially by Brower Park.
  • edited March 1
    It is tough to keep residents employed.

    However, the residents must be over 50 years old to get in.

    ...it is very tough to become younger than 50 once you are older than 50.

    The saying "there are old ones, and there are bold ones. ...but there are few old, bold ones" usually holds true.
  • 50+ employed men might not be that bad. Though frankly, I'd rather it be permanent, affordable housing for older, low-income people. Like an assisted/supportive living home for older, low-income people. Then they can really be integrated into the community, rather than shuffled in and out by DHS. 
  • edited March 1
    Supportive Housing is being built as we type.

    ...but it won't be enough, and we live in the present.

    https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-directs-new-york-state-division-budget-sign-2-billion-homelessness-and-housing
  • Diana Richardson seems to think that Saturday's Meeting is important, and that DHS is having the meeting because must listen to community concerns.

    http://files.constantcontact.com/76cbb4ad401/752af113-3a13-4406-a4bc-592262e18e9a.pdf?ver=1488543556000


    Um, they are having the meeting because they are required to have the meeting.

    They know very few people want a shelter in this location. ...people only want shelters in OTHER locations.
  • Positions now posted on the site of the agency that will run the shelter:

  • Good fine, whynot
  • In case the screamers missed the first one, or need another:

    image


  • Word has it that the mayor announced tonight that this shelter will have men 62 years old and over, as opposed to 50 and over.
  • Lots of buzz about residents' worries about the shelters coming into their communities. I'd love to read or hear a story that talks to homeless people, perhaps those who have the potential of moving into these.  
    I almost think that the conversation would help the situation. As it stands, the government appears to be acting in an almost authoritarian way by forcing these shelters into communities for for faceless, nameless people. They almost seem like pawns pushed back and forth between different interests. Why not actually try to integrate these homeless by having them engage in dialogue with their soon-to-be community? Perhaps they'll even recognize the community's hesitation and, in turn, people may realize some of the value in giving people - not "homeless people" - space in their neighborhood. 
  • edited March 11
    I would be interested in learning the mean length of nights residents spend in a men's shelter. Has it grown to over 500 days?
  • In exchange for increasing the age of the people served, the shelter's operators have stated they will no longer pursue the very difficult to achieve employment goals.

  • so basically it will be an old age home for older, low-income men?
  • As one might expect, Tuesday's mtg has been cancelled due to snow.


    CB8 writes:
    POSTPONED!!!!! 1173 BERGEN STREET SHELTER MEETING. MORE DETAILS TO COME AS THEY ARRIVE.
  • Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy house 10x the shelter beds the mayor’s Park Slope does.  The current number of homeless beds in three communities for comparison sake, according to NY1:
    • Crown Heights: 1,779
    • Bed Stuy: 1,527
    • Park Slope:  331 (DeBlasio owns property here)

    DeBlasio's plans to open the 1st shelter is within a four block radius (also known as a "cluster") already hosting the following:

    • The largest shelter for single men in the city, houses over 350 beds (the Bedford-Atlantic Armory Men's Shelter), which according to the NYT, "has been notorious for crime, loitering, and panhandling."
    • Another recently opened shelter on Nostrand and Atlantic (city snuck this one in!)
    • 11 halfway-house and mental health facilities (that we know of, operated by the Institute for Community Living)

    With all the above info, the residents of Crown heights are clearly not unsympathetic and not anti-homeless. 

    Can we take "kick me" sign off our backs now, DeBlasio?
  • Where is the new shelter at Nostrand and Atlantic?
  • According to CB8 and Cornegy's office, the Nostrand/Atlantic one just opened in the "new" hotel on the north side of Atlantic! WHO KNEW?!
  • WHAT? That's terrible.
  • edited March 16
    The Bedford-Atlantic Armory Men’s Shelter is already the largest shelter for single men IN THE CITY. The New York Times describes it as "notorious for crime, loitering and panhandlin."; then there's the Nostrand/Atlantic one block away;  now the new proposed shelter would be two blocks away.  They're creating a corridor from Atlantic to Bergen, Bedford to New York, a four block area.  Crown Heights is already oversaturated with shelters as well as other social services, such as halfway houses and rehab clinics; they should be spread more evenly throughout the city to avoid exactly this kind of over-saturation in under-resourced communities​. ​ Bill de Blasio’s Homelessness Plan in fact segregates the homeless into areas already saturated with homeless people.

    Councilman Robert Cornegy (Bed Stuy & Crown Heights) and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, both told the mayor to his face that they oppose the Bergen shelter at a recent town hall in Bed Stuy. They're both lifelong neighborhood residents and our local elected representatives.
    Cornegy also showed up at last night's CB8 meeting to voice his objection.

    There's a petition circulating, please read and sign if you support: https://www.change.org/p/bill-de-blasio-stop-crown-heights-20th-shelter-from-opening-bergen-house-homeless-shelter-for-104-men
    and share with friends, neighbors and your block associations.

    [note: there's another hand-written petition with hundreds more signatures for the less-socially-connected]
  • Wonderful @radGirl. I already signed the petition. I'm so pissed at the Mayor and the City about this. Crown Heights people are wonderful. We're really accepting of the fact that communities should offer shelter to those in need. I'd go so far as to say that we are better at some communities about accepting and embracing this fact of life in NYC with grace. But this shelter seems to really be the straw that is breaking the camel's back. Sentiment seems to be -- we host the Armory Men's Shelter. What else do you want from us? And the City demands ever more, while not giving more in the form of real permanent housing for low-income or working class people, better transit, upgraded parks, more than one or two schools to brag about, or other niceties.

    You think deBlasio would remember that Crown Heights is a community that largely voted for him.
  • My guess is that the Nostrand/Atlantic site is the La Quinta Inn at 1229 Atlantic. It is probably part of the 436-room expansion in the city's homeless hotel portfolio that is the subject of this NYT article: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/07/nyregion/homelessness-new-york-city-hotels.html

    I’m sympathetic to the oversaturation argument, but if those of you who oppose this shelter succeed and get the City to put it in some other community, where do you think it will go? Park Slope? Boerum Hill? No way. It will end up in Brownsville or Canarsie. My guess is that you wouldn’t care either way so long as it’s not here.

    The fact is shelters will go where the real estate is cheaper. A property the size of 1173 Bergen would cost two or three times as much in Gowanus or DUMBO. I’d rather see the City spend the limited dollars budgeted for homeless services on helping more homeless people rather than buying real estate in expensive areas. If that means my community has to cope with a few hundred more human beings in distress, so be it. I for one will welcome them. I’m saddened to see that many of my neighbors will not.

  • @pierpont you're sad, huh?  I don't know if you are sympathetic to the saturation or else you wouldn't be defending our plight.  You obviously don't care about it because you live in Prospect heights.  But you are very concerned what goes up in your own neighborhood, like this post you wrote: http://brooklynian.com/discussion/46166/406-prospect-place#latest, you clearly want and would "love to see something nice", but o-n-l-y in your own neck of the woods.  Why is it not OK for the residents surrounded by shelters in this neighborhood to finally put their foot down and stop eating crap the city dishes it?  You are negative in stating that because the area is less affluent we should just shut up and take it. I also don't either live in this four block radius, but guess what?  That is what real sympathy looks like: signing the petition!

    Your argument doesn't hold up.  The city owns property everywhere.  For instance, the City-owned Parking Lot at 530 thru 542 Dean Street...
    How about putting up a giant homeless shelter there?  Oh wait, you mentioned that in your post: http://brooklynian.com/discussion/46399/plans-for-city-owned-parking-lot-at-530-thru-542-dean-street#latest and you say, "Why not put affordable housing on this property?"  Well, that's what we say, too, about 1173 Bergen: Why not affordable housing on this property?
  • edited March 16

    @RadGirl Thank you for the walk down memory lane. I don't reread my old Brooklynian posts as often as I should. It’s true that I don’t go walking around the neighborhood scouting out sites for new homeless shelters, but perhaps I ought to. 

    I agree that oversaturation is a problem, though Crown Heights is by no means the most oversaturated community in the City. I assume that this is why you lump Bedford-Stuyvesant into your talking points in order to goose the numbers. 

    I also agree that the City is inept (or worse) at siting new shelters, communicating with the community, and dealing with the homelessness epidemic in general. DHS is non-transparent in its site selection and inarticulate in its community outreach. The fact that just last night they would not disclose the number of beds in the shelters they plan to close is outrageous. That even pissed me off, and I support this thing. However, there is no other entity with a billion dollar budget focused on helping homeless people.

    And I also agree that the people who live and work within vicinity of the Bedford-Atlantic shelter suffer numerous quality of life issues and other grievances that the City does not address as well as they should. But not all shelters are alike, and 1173 Bergen is not looking like another Bedford-Atlantic. I lived down the block from the Institute for Community Living facility on St. Marks and Brooklyn for two years and would have never known there was a shelter there if I hadn’t been curious about the building and googled it.

    Now, if CORE doesn’t live up to its obligations at 1173 Bergen I’ll gladly join the community in pushing back hard. I’ll also gladly join any effort to push the City to build more supportive and affordable housing on property it owns in CB8 (like at 530-542 Dean Street, as I mentioned in that prior post of mine you dug up). 

    I won’t sign your petition, however. I think the magnitude of the current homelessness epidemic requires rapid action, even though that action will of necessity be messy and imperfect and will affect certain communities more than others, for reasons that are complex and unpopular to discuss. That’s reality.

    Instead of a “shut it down” posture, I would instead support getting the City to make certain explicit commitments about this and future shelters in Crown Heights. For instance, get them to commit to convert 1173 Bergen into permanent supportive housing once the City's homeless numbers fall from the current 60,000 to a lower benchmark. Or get a commitment from the City to convert the Brower Park library building into affordable housing once the library relocates to the Children's Museum. 

    If the City wants to place an extraordinary burden on Crown Heights as it struggles to solve the homelessness epidemic I won't say no. But I would push for the community to receive extraordinary benefits in recompense. 

  • One thought - more affordable housing won't help the homeless epidemic... affordable housing is part of the market's distortion that has led to the market-rate rents being too damn high (and unaffordable for many)!
  • What I'd like to see in Crown Heights:

    1. A meeting organized by CB8 to discuss the City's comprehensive plans for homeless shelter openings and closings. This should include addresses of shelters/cluster sites/whatever to be closed and how many beds close down with those shelters. 

    2. The City's response and plan for dealing with legitimate and ongoing problems with the operation of the Bedford-Atlantic Men's Shelter

    3. Chance for community to respond.
  • @pierpont wrote:

    "Or get a commitment from the City to convert the Brower Park library building into affordable housing once the library relocates to the Children's Museum. "

    The city does not own the land or the building the Brower Park Library used.




  • Here are numbers, according to NY1:

    Active homeless beds today by select neighborhoods:

    * Crown Heights: 1,779
    * Park Slope: 331
    * Bensonhurst: 0
    * Bay Ridge: 0

    The Atlantic Armory is the largest men's shelter in all five boroughs, 350 beds. This new shelter, with 106 beds, is right around the corner, housing men from all over Brooklyn, not just the local neighborhood. The city also overrode community objections to expand the housing for the mentally ill, destroying the historic gardens of the mansion directly across from the Brooklyn Children's museum, which is a few blocks away. It's a dense, homeless corridor they're making, 500+ beds in a few blocks, more than in all of Park Slope. It's grossly unfair. 

    And sure, no one is against the homeless. But, for one thing, the homeless need homes, not more shelter beds. But also, what about this community? What about the rest of the people who live here? Many of them are already poor and disadvantaged. Why not service the homeless in a more affluent community with richer resources rather than placing more burden on this already over-burdened, under-resourced community? Don't pretend like a further concentration of homeless here doesn't have negative consequences for the rest of the residents in the neighborhood.

    I made this map to illustrate the concentration:


  • edited March 17
    A number of commenters have posted "placing more burden on this already over-burdened, under-resourced community" like Crown Heights.
    What does this mean? Will crown heights be expected to provide much for the shelters? I understand the anxiety around having more shelters or homesless people than other areas, but my understanding is that they're pretty reliant on the city.
  • As a resident of Crown Heights, I know for certain that the folks who live here are not anti-shelter--we are anti over saturation.  As it was mentioned at the meeting, we have one hospital, Interfaith.  This hospital has been on the verge of closing too.  How do you justify placing all these facilities, (e.g. shelters, halfway houses, methadone clinics, etc.) in an area where resources are being taken away?

    The Mayor's plan is irresponsible and poorly executed.  His plan clearly shows how little he thinks of our community as well as the homeless.  The homeless need their own affordable apartments. 

    It is time that these developers and investors are held accountable.  They receive a boat load of subsidies and tax breaks. They need to start allotting more apartments at below market rate. 

    Housing the homeless in shelters cost more money than subsidizing their rent in an affordable apartment. 


  • Thanks, @faithful813.

    I still have a few questions since I'm not completely understanding the conversation here --

    A hospital closer doesn't mean it's being taken away. It means it can't support itself and no one is stepping in to fill that role. So I don't see how this plays into the question of Crown Heights not having the resources to support shelters?

    Do the homeless need their own affordable housing? I always thought the goal was to help the homeless - and all, really - become self sufficient citizens. Subsidized housing doesn't really check that box.

    Also, developers are allowing units for below market rate in exchange for breaks. The tax code that enforced that exchange is what led to all the luxury, high rises we see around us. If we can acknowledge that developers are business people & not the government that functions at a real loss, what role do developers play here?

    What resources does crown heights not have but will will have to spend with new shelters?
  • edited March 17
    I am amused by the concept that undesirable services should be spread evenly throughout the city.

    Dept of Sanitation facilities
    Bus Depots
    High schools
    Housing projects
    Probation and Parole
    Drug treatment
    Sewage treatment
    Courthouses
    Fast food strips
    Auto repair shops

    All these are places that no one especially wants in their neighborhood, yet some areas are "over saturated".

    They are located where they are for lots of reasons. ....having an affordable, suitable site available seems primary.
  • edited March 17
    On the bright side, "undesirable facilities" keep housing prices lower and relatively affordable, right?!
  • That is a bright side if you are a renter or looking for home to buy, but not a bright side if you already own.
  • Marco555 said:
    On the bright side, "undesirable facilities" keep housing prices lower and relatively affordable, right?!

    Exactly!!

  • Marco555 said:
    Thanks, @faithful813. I still have a few questions since I'm not completely understanding the conversation here -- A hospital closer doesn't mean it's being taken away. It means it can't support itself and no one is stepping in to fill that role. So I don't see how this plays into the question of Crown Heights not having the resources to support shelters? Do the homeless need their own affordable housing? I always thought the goal was to help the homeless - and all, really - become self sufficient citizens. Subsidized housing doesn't really check that box. Also, developers are allowing units for below market rate in exchange for breaks. The tax code that enforced that exchange is what led to all the luxury, high rises we see around us. If we can acknowledge that developers are business people & not the government that functions at a real loss, what role do developers play here? What resources does crown heights not have but will will have to spend with new shelters?

    I agree that Interfaith has had financial issues and this is the reason why it has been on the cusp of closing.  The Mayor has stated that he wants to open the shelters in the community where the homeless last lived where they will be familiar with churches, hospitals, etc.  The point was that Crown Heights/Bed Stuy has one hospital and we don't know how much longer it will be there.

    The city has to change the way they give out these subsidies to developers and investors--that I agree with.  All developers care for are their bottom line.  Cutting funding to Section 8 and voucher programs has also contributed to the homeless population.

  • whynot_31 said:
    That is a bright side if you are a renter or looking for home to buy, but not a bright side if you already own.
    Very true. Thanks for pointing out. 
  • Mayor de Blasio is trying to recover quickly from any damages that the just-dropped indictment charges have left, in time for upcoming elections. 
    De Blasio’s half-baked plan does not address long-­term ways to prevent and solve homelessness, showing his shortsightedness.
    Mayor de Blasio’s plan is not a sound solution and makes Central Brooklyn the de facto “home” of the homeless for decades to come. 
    Mayor de Blasio says he is “turning the tide,” but he is bringing a tsunami of homelessness to Crown Heights, reinforcing racial segregation and a cycle of poverty for an area carrying far more than its fair share of homeless shelters.

    North Crown Heights, (which is the area 1172 Bergen is, see on map) already includes 11 halfway­ houses and mental health facilities (that we know of), plus two large­s cale methadone clinics, including Interfaith Medical Center’s methadone treatment program at 882 Bergen Street, four blocks from the proposed Bergen House Homeless Shelter. [Source: local block associations]
    homeless-shelter-map.jpg
  • @RadGirl We should reall work on making a map of all known locations for this sort of housing. Presenting a map like this is really powerful.
  • @crownheightster that's a great idea.  We don't have a lot of time, but we're doing what we can with the officers we have!  Can you PM me your email address? 
  • The city is now paying so much that Mid level hotels are agreeing to become shelters.

    ...no more mid week vacancies.
  • RadGirl said:
    Mayor de Blasio says he is “turning the tide,” but he is bringing a tsunami of homelessness to Crown Heights, reinforcing racial segregation and a cycle of poverty for an area carrying far more than its fair share of homeless shelters.


    Can you explain how de Blasio is reinforcing racial segregation with this decision? I'd love to understand the point you're making!

    Thanks,
  • edited March 17
    I think this from the Gothamist article sums it up:

    "Desmond Atkins, a lifelong resident of Crown Heights, accused the Department of Homeless Services on Wednesday of continuing a legacy of racial discrimination by opening a men's shelter in his neighborhood—a part of Brooklyn that is majority black and, he believes, already saturated with similar facilities.
    'People who look like me, or who speak other languages, typically are placed in neighborhoods and areas that are dumped upon,' said Atkins, who is black. 'This community was redlined when I was a child in the '60s and the '50s... This community should not be a dumping ground.' "
  • edited March 17
    I suspect CH was among the most expensive neighborhoods DHS could afford.

    ...it would not surprise me if the majority of the new shelters end up in ENY, Hunts Point or other even poorer, less expensive (blacker?) areas.
  • I think Gothamist buried the lede on this story.


    DeBlasio’s feel-good arguments about preserving “family” and “community” in the location of new shelters is a red herring. The new shelter on Bergen is taking people from ALL OVER BROOKLYN, not just the immediate neighborhood. There is therefore no reason why the same shelter couldn’t be put in less over-saturated neighborhoods. Rather than doing something new, DeBlasio is perpetuating business as usual: moving poor and troubled men to historically poor communities that lack the political connections and economic strength of other neighborhoods. This just keeps kicking people when they're down.

     

    The mayor initially justified locating new shelters in already over-saturated communities by claiming “We were doing the whole thing wrong, just like our predecessors had done the whole thing wrong because there was no reference to community, there was no reference to family.” He continued, “We believe there’s much more chance of people being respected and accepted if they’re close to the neighborhood they come from.”

     

    But now DHS has “clarified” that the men at this shelter will be from all of Brooklyn. So, if you are an older man who falls on hard times ANYWHERE in Brooklyn, you can come to “your community” and your “family” in Crown Heights. What a load of crap.

     

    DeBlasio should know better. He helped in the semi-successful fight against the Atlantic Armory’s conversion into an intake center for all of NYC by making the same arguments about over-saturation and the Fair Share act. Now, his supposed commitment to preserving “family” and “community” reads more like a bait-and-switch technique.

  • @sprucenik -- right on. The hypocrisy pouring out of de Blasio's mouth is disgusting.
  • The same rhetoric is used by the advocates who want to close Rikers Island.

    ...they seek to have the island replaced by smaller jails located throughout the city.

    Do you think DOCS will be spending its money in areas that it gets the fewest beds per dollar?
  • The Bergen Street and Dean Street Block Associations have now filed an injunction petition with Brooklyn Supreme Court to prevent the City from opening this shelter until the CEQR and ULURP processes has been completed, and an analysis of the Fair Share rules has been undertaken:

    My (non-expert) opinion is that they don't have much of a chance on the ULURP or Fair Share claims but CEQR is broad enough to allow grounds for an injunction if the petitioners are lucky.
  • So fair share essentially means nothing?
  • edited March 24
    So fair share essentially means nothing?
    Here is my non-expert, amateur understanding of the fair share criteria (a more detailed version can be found here: 

    The City Charter has some general language about the "fair distribution of the burdens and benefits associated with city facilities". It is a generic statement of principal with no specific details about how it is to be accomplished, what would constitute an unfair distribution of City facilities, or if/how communities could seek redress. 

    In order to flesh this principal out City Planning published a booklet describing criteria for how to locate City facilities (you can read it here:  https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/planning/download/pdf/about/publications/criteria_lcf.pdf)

    This document is the source material for the much-invoked yet little understood "fair share" criteria. There are a few things to note about the criteria:
    • The City agency's determination of how the fair share criteria apply to a given project are not made public until ULURP or contract procurement. In the case of the Bergen Street Shelter, this would mean DHS will issue its fair share determination as part of the CORE Services procurement.
    • The rules make a distinction between a local or neighborhood facility versus a regional or citywide facility. The procedural hurdles are higher for the latter. I would not be surprised if DHS's emphasis on this being a shelter for former Brooklyn residents is an attempt to put it in the local/neighborhood category.
    • Even though the the City Charter calls for a fair distribution of City facilities the rules that the City has written for itself provide it with considerable leeway in siting facilities. Specifically, it does not expressly prohibit over-concentration of City facilities. It only provides administrative safeguards that endeavor to prevent such concentration. And the judge will only base her decision on how well the City followed its own rules in this case (unless the lawsuit challenged the efficacy of the rules themselves in enacting the City Charter's guidance. I haven't read the petition but I doubt this is what it asserts).
  • Well stated @pierpont.

    I would add that the city can argue that it is presently at risk of violating the Callahan rulings, and can likely show several attempts to find alternative sites that did not bear fruit.

  • "His administration, after halting shelter openings for a time two years ago, is now planning to open 90 shelters over five years"

    When he halted shelter openings, was he under the illusion that Right To Shelter had magically expired?

    That Coalition for The Homeless would walk away from their hard won victories?

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