Feb. 21, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
The Fairfield Inn by Marriott in Long Island City is set to become a shelter for adult families.
The hotel, located at 52-34 Van Dam St., will provide shelter for up to 154 homeless families, according to the Department of Homeless Services. The shelter is expected to open in March.
The agency notified the community board and elected officials of their plans on Feb. 13.
The shelter will be a high-quality transitional housing facility under de Blasio’s “Turning the Tide” initiative put forth early 2017 to tackle homelessness. Under the mayor’s plan, cluster sites through the city will be eliminated while multi-service facilities like these are set to open. For this shelter, priority will be given to families with roots in Community Board 2.
The Van Dam Street facility will be operated by Home/Life, a non-profit service provider. Programs like case management, housing placement assistance, health and mental health services, and employment counseling will be offered on site for residents. Other services include screenings and intervention for those with substance abuse disorders, and yoga and nutrition classes.
On-site security will be provided 24 hours a day, with two officers at the entrance to control building access and monitor security cameras. The DHS also installed 95 security cameras through the building and across the shelter grounds as an added measure.
“This high-quality facility will be the first of its kind in this community district, offering 154 adult families from Queens the opportunity to be sheltered in their home borough, closer to their support networks and communities they called home as they get back on their feet,” said Isaac McGinn, press secretary for the DHS.
Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Long Island City) said the upcoming facility under the mayor’s plan is just another hotel being re-purposed as a shelter.
“It’s important that the city provide individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness with shelter and resources, ensuring opportunities for them to find work and permanent, affordable housing,” said Van Bramer. “However, DHS has been reckless in their use of commercial hotels as temporary shelters throughout Queens and especially in this district.”
He added: “The Mayor’s Turning the Tide plan on getting out of hotels as shelters and bringing balance to each community board is simply not working….the Mayor and the Department of Homeless Services are failing us here.”
The DHS is currently using three commercial hotels within CB2 to provide shelter to nearly 530 New Yorkers. The locations include the City View Inn, housing single men since last month, the Best Western housing families, and the Quality Inn on Queens Boulevard.