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Local leaders “outraged”, “disappointed” by new homeless shelter brought without community knowledge or say

Oct. 2, 2017 by Nathaly Pesantez

Elected officials and community leaders were caught off guard last week when they learned that the Best Western on the border of Sunnyside/Long Island City is now a homeless shelter.

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D- Long Island City) said she was “outraged and disappointed” upon learning last week that the Best Western at 38-05 Hunters Point Ave. was “yet another hotel in Queens” to become a homeless shelter.

“I do not feel that our community was given adequate notice, nor time to prepare for this development,” Nolan wrote in a Sept. 29 letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio.”My office received no information as to which company will be managing the shelter, nor for how long the shelter will be operating.”

Similarly, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said he was disappointed that his office and the community did not have a say in or knowledge of the decision.

“While we can never demonize the homeless, many of which are children, I share in my community’s frustration of the process by which this decision was made,” Van Bramer said in a statement.

A spokesperson for the Department of Homeless Services said that the agency began using the site as a shelter on Sept. 26, the same day that the agency notified the community, including elected officials and the community board, about the site. The agency said that they are using all 82 rooms at the Hunters Point Ave. location to house homeless New Yorkers while the city works to phase out cluster sites (private apartments] as priority.

“We are using commercial hotels like this location as a bridge to provide shelter to homeless New Yorkers, including families with children, who would otherwise be turned out into the street,” the DHS spokesperson said.

Denise Keehan-Smith, chairperson of Community Board 2, said that the DHS informed the board on Tuesday that the site was opened as an emergency shelter and bringing in families the following day. According to the DHS, the city places people in homeless shelters under emergency situations when there is not enough shelter capacity on a given night.

“I get that the DHS needs shelter for the people,” Keehan-Smith said. “But it seems like we are becoming inundated with more than a fair share of homeless shelters, and I think that its very disappointing.” Keehan-Smith added that the DHS has told the board that they would get plenty of notification in advance regarding hotels as shelters.

Assemblywoman Nolan said the decision to open a new shelter was surprising given de Blasio’s plan to phase out homeless shelters and cluster sites, and criticized the city’s lack of transparency in the process which may cause opposition to build within the community.

“No one wants to see children homeless, but the administration’s approach makes it impossible for a community to accept a shelter,’ Nolan wrote. “They become a source of resentment for the communities in which they are placed…there is also the uncertain, possible negative impact on the residential areas in which they are located.”

The DHS, however, said that the community can have a say in the process by identifying locations where shelters would best fit in their area via community board meetings.

Keehan-Smith said that a representative from the DHS will be at the upcoming Community Board 2 meeting, which will be held at Sunnyside Community Services at 6:30 pm on Oct. 5.

The Hunters Point Avenue site, along with two other commercial hotels used as homeless shelters in Community Board 2, will be phased out as shelters by 2023 in accordance with the mayor’s plan, according to the DHS.

Letter to Mayor de Blasio, Best Western, 3805 Hunters Point Avenue, 9-29-17 by Queens Post on Scribd

email the author: [email protected]

21 Comments

Us

Its funny how all you guys are quick to judge individuals in shelters guess what im in the shleter right in the corner if your home in that hotel n so far the environment been so peaceful beside the black people who sit outside playing music n smoking etc etc but theres family in here that actuslly need the help and want out. So instesd of judging keep in mind we suffering n our kids too. U dont know us so pack it up.

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Wendy

It’s truly sad to read how some of you express yourselves about the homeless as if they like to be in that situation. As if they are less than you, as if they are now a menace to your community. It’s truly disgusting! How dare you worry about the value of your property or “druggies” that may not even be an actual problem. Believe it or not all homeless people are not jobless, classless people. They are people just like you that work a 9-5pm and lost it all due to a fire or the rent went up so high above their means and they couldn’t afford it and became evicted. There are children who can lay they head on a pillow tonight thanks to hotels like this that house the homeless. Let’s be more aware of what’s truly important that no person should have to be forced into the streets.

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disillusioned NYer

so they open shelters in desirable areas to force home owners to sell to developers who benefit by using displaced families as pawns…I’m all for helping these families back on their feet but transparency with the community is key here.

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Time To Move

Families from LIC/ Astoria are moving when their homes are sold to developers. There is no affordable housing in this area any longer for anyone earning under 100M. They are going to the Bronx, Corona, Elmhurst…..until the same situation will happen eventually. Dumblasio will get re elected because those people he continually fools by stupid promises believe he will help them find housing they can afford . He and his supporters have no interest for the low income or the middle class (who ever middle class is now days )except their votes. What you will see, will be the exodus by people who can get $$$ to get a mortgage and these people will start heading to Orange County where there is affordable housing……..the city will be just for the Millennials , who never stay anywhere too long…..and the homeless…..who will fill the small hotels that are being overbuilt in LIC/Astoria

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Anonymous

Crowley for Senator?! Wasnt there a (troubling)story in a local paper some time ago connecting him to people assigned to manage estates ? You never heard another word..Anyway, what SHOULD be done to help NYC homeless? We need ideas here..Can the city build more low income housing?

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WG 39th St

Everyone should attend the Community Board Meeting Tonight, Thursday, October 5, 2017 at 6:30 PM at the Sunnyside Community Center.

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WG 39th St

Corruption!!! We need to follow the money and see who JVB’s big donors are, the same individuals who own the LLC’s behind the Homeless hotels and developments popping up in LIC. JVB has a huge war chest and will be vying for Joe Crowley’s Congressional seat and Crowley will be rotating into Charles Schumer’s Senatorial seat. There are back room deals here. JVB knows everything that is going on in his district and if there is a homeless hotel opening up he knows…. The Best Western on 39th St has 82 rooms, the city is paying for all 82 rooms whether the hotel is full or not, that is the deal the Best Western struck with the city. Costs to taxpayers over $200 Million per year to house the homeless in NYC, coming from our hard earned taxes. Our politicians don’t represent us anymore, only their own self-interests and the developers they serve to maintain their positions of power in government.

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Time To Move

This is the mayor’s example of affordable housing !!!!!! Instead of looking to solve the homeless situation , build more unaffordable housing in this part of Queens so people end up in shelters when they can no longer support themselves and their families. Every great society went bust when it could no longer sustain it’s growing inequality ……..we are on an express train.

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MRLIC

When the homeless situation even gets worse than it is now, especially if DUMB New Yorkers are going to re-elect Dumblasio for another 4 years, he will put more in Luxury Hotels that can’t rent their overpriced apartments/studios. See the Verve Hotel near Queens Plaza.

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Anonymous

this hotel the “Verde” JVB knew from day one it was going to be a homeless shelter he was even there with the mayor at a meeting so he can’t get out of this one — i do hope this gets published —

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Anonymous

NY law REQUIRES NYC to provide shelter to homeless. This is not the law in all big cities.Some argue this attracts more people to NYC. The question of changing the law has come up. Would this cut down on the number of people coming to NYC? Perhaps..or would we be back in the old days of homeless living/ sleeping in cardboard boxes on the streets. That’s no good, either. What about this ballot coming up in November about a Constitution convention or something? If that happens, is that how the law gets changed? Do we want that? ..No easy answers.

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Fix the DHS

I love that the solution is for the community to suggest other areas in their neighborhoods for the shelters. Not for the DHS to do a better job of screening homeless people to determine if they actually plan to use the help to get back on their feet (or if they plan to use it to continue to benefit from tax payer money while being a drain on society). No one is going to suggest a shelter location near their home until the shelters shed their unappealing reputations.

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Roger

Embrace it Sunnyside & LIC,.. You should welcome all kinds. There are many more hotels following over this next year. We are all equal loving liberals.

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Time To Move

You would not be embracing it , dear liberal, if you owned a home and your property was used as a toilet ….or if you had young children who had to deal with filthy druggies hanging around as safety issues. Creating more shelters is like treating cancer with an aspirin. Compassion and supporting those in need is one thing, ruining neighborhoods and paying exorbitant fees to private exploiters to house these people is an outrage. If every city had a crying towel liberal mayor like DiBlasio , or worse, a president like Billary, we would be flying a socialist flag…….and all be living in shelters.

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Anonymous

I cannot say I am surprised at all! More importantly, even though I strongly feel our community is being dumped on with these shelters, this hotel was dive. Prostitution, drugs ect. and the acting manager was very aware and had his hands in the cookie Jar. We all know this!

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John

Van Bramer and Nolan didn’t know ahead of time. BULLSHIT! They’re upset because they’re not getting a pay off on this one that’s more like it.

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Frank

This is just our idiot mayor trying to shuffle homeless people off the streets to boost his re-election chances. I bet the homeless people have helpful fliers waiting in their rooms about how to vote for him too.

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VOTING NEXT TIME

I am not worried about his reelection challenges. He won because too many people sat the vote out. We (yes, i am guilty) will not let that happen again. When the abstainers come back to the polls, DeBozio will be back on unemployment.

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LICman

You’ve got to be kidding me! No we do NOT need yet another homeless shelter, we already have plenty in our area. Stop converting hotels into homeless shelters!

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