Oct. 9, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
Residents will begin moving into western Queens’ newest homeless shelter at the Verve Hotel in Dutch Kills around Oct. 16, although the Department of Homeless Services will start setting up at the site this weekend.
DHS officials visited the Dutch Kills Civic Association on Thursday evening to provide this and other details on the new shelter, located at 40th Avenue and 29th Street.
At full capacity, the shelter will house 200 single women.
However, as described by Camille Rivera, DHS Communications and External Affairs Deputy Commissioner, the agency will be “slowly transitioning” shelter residents into the Verve, starting with a “small group” on Oct. 16, she estimated.
Rivera said she could not give a more detailed explanation of the length or structure of the phase-in, since that is “based on the capacity and the need.”
One point of confusion among DKCA members was the fact that DHS had not yet signed a lease for the property as of Thursday evening.
“Why is it that if you’re having a soft opening there’s no such lease in hand?” one member asked, using the term the group had adopted for this weekend’s pre-resident takeover of the site. “I don’t understand how you can do one without the other.”
“The simple answer is that we work with the landlord [hotel owner] – we have a capacity and emergency need before that lease is signed – they will trust us to know that that lease will be signed,” Rivera responded.
With negotiations ongoing, Rivera said she could not speak to the terms of the lease, although DHS Director of Government Relations Heidi Schmidt noted that “the leases are typically three to seven years.”
DHS did not respond to requests for an update on the lease on Friday.
Verve Hotel management also did not respond to questions about the shelter transition process.
Like the Westway Motel shelter on Astoria Boulevard, the Verve Hotel shelter was opened by the city on a six-month emergency basis.
This means that, with a greenlight from the City Comptroller, DHS can open a shelter with one-week prior community notification, and afterward the shelter provider (in this case the Acacia Network) can participate in a formal application process for a shelter contract past the six months.
A persistent worry among Dutch Kills residents is that the Verve will be just one of many hotel-to-shelter conversions in this area, which is undergoing a hotel boom. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer noted that discussions with the Mayor’s office on this topic are ongoing.
However, Van Bramer said, “the administration has not yet committed to not siting another shelter in one of these [Dutch Kills] hotels for the length of time that we all are interested in.”
Click here for prior Verve Hotel shelter coverage.
Reach reporter Jackie Strawbridge at [email protected]
And what about the tourists who have a confirmed booking with this hotel at this time of reservation. So easy, the hotel has given a kick in the ass by sending a cancellation. Nobody takes responsibility of leaving you no room five days before your trip.
You get what you vote for! This would of never of happened under Giuliani or Bloomberg!
This is a woman’s shelter! What is everyone afraid of? Having to wait an extra 10 minutes for food delivery or the supermarket running out of tampons? Get a grip, get a life and get over it!!
With the amount of money they pay to the owners of the hotel, they could just pay the rent of a real apartment for them to live in!!!!
Nowadays with social media, camera phones and videos, the last thing I need is to end up in the media or some blog as someone who opposes a homeless shelter for woman. I am sure many people feel this way and hesitate to take a stance. Imagine an employer or future employer seeing your name or picture pop up in some website! I rather just wait and move if the situation gets worse and just blame lack of parking for my move on Facebook LOL.
For many poor people in NYC, having an affordable decent home and suitable living environment remains a dream. This lack of adequate housing is not only a burden for many of the poor, but it is harmful to the larger society as well. It is my opinion that getting people and their families off the streets or preventing them from living on the streets should not only be a priority for city officials but a societal obligation for all its citizens. People need a place to rest and opportunities to reengage with society. Housing the homeless in poverty stricken, unsafe neighborhoods has proven to be a big failure. I am all for housing homeless woman in safer neighborhoods to get them back on their feet.
Good, bring a few home with you.
This is all about a covert social engineering. They want to place homeless people and families (mainly from outside Queens) in middle class neighborhoods, with utter disregard and contempt for the local homeowners and the most important investment of their entire lives–the value of their homes.
Will the residents demand backyard drinking space? Shelters in other neighborhoods all have that.
Nah, just need to put some chairs out on the sidewalk for that.
So this is the model for how the city is going to deal with the homeless? Just ram through these projects without any community discussion or concern about the impacts on the rest of us? What an absolute disgrace. I’ve lived in this place my entire life and have never witnessed such disregard for the community. Shameful! Van Bramer needs to step the hell up and DO SOMETHING right now before all the hard work, investments and gains in LIC go down the shitter.
It is right across the street from a High School…The city could care less what the neighborhood thinks. We live in a time that the media and city officials portray those who oppose shelters as heartless, ignorant and xenophobic. Therefore, very few gather and take a stance…The majority of us are consumed with working and our own little world in order to pay our high taxes, rents and bills and then move on to the next trendy neighborhood.
There’s another one coming to 44th Drive!
This is outrageous! We need to organize as community and fight this ASAP. Everyone, please contact Community Board and Van Bramer. This one on 44th drive is just getting started, and we still have time to fight it!
The exact address is 21-16 44th Drive. The construction permit was just filed in August. We can still fight this.
I said this in another post, can anyone make flyers and distribute to the community and business owners? Everyone should protest at the next CB meeting but I feel this needs to go beyond JVB and the CB because I am sure they’re already aware but will do nothing.
When is the next Community Board 2 meeting? Let’s all come out and let them know it’s not ok.
“True charity requires courage: let us overcome the fear of getting our hands dirty so as to help those in need.” (@Pontifex)
I fart in Pontifex’s general direction.
Where are they going to be busing people from? Rikers Island and Bellevue Hospital?
Yippee…more derelicts coming to the neighborhood.
You’ve got to be kidding me.
“To live charitably means not looking out for our own interests, but carrying the burdens of the weakest and poorest among us.” (@Pontifex)