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Queens Chronicle

Homeless shelter being planned for Cooper Ave.

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Posted: Thursday, August 8, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 8:31 pm, Wed Aug 14, 2013.

Plans to establish a homeless shelter in Glendale that came to the attention of some residents a year ago are on the cusp of being made official.

Samaritan Village, a social service organization based in Briarwood, notified Community Board 5 on Tuesday that it wants to discuss its plan with the members soon. The group wants to provide transitional housing for 125 families at a vacant factory site at 78-16 Cooper Ave., right down the street from the Shops at Atlas Park.

In a letter to CB 5 Chairman Vincent Arcuri Jr., District Manager Gary Giordano and an official with the Department of Homeless Services, Samaritan Village President Tino Hernandez touts the organization’s record of service and cites statistics that he says show the need for “high-quality services in Queens to support famillies struggling to find affordable housing and remain in the community.”

Hernandez says on-site security will be provided 24 hours a day every day, and that rules including curfews and a ban on loitering by residents will be in effect.

But many in the community have been concerned about the idea of a homeless shelter being established at the site since they got wind of it a year ago but did not know which organization was planning it.

City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said in an Aug. 9, 2012 Facebook post that her office will fight any proposal to put a homeless shelter at the site. Noting that the land is zoned for manufacturing, but that the city has allowed shelters in such zones before, Crowley said:

“But to give an occupancy certificate to a shelter in this location would be an inaccurate manipulation of the law and should be stopped. The site should be developed to enrich the community.”

Area civic activist Christina Wilkinson alluded to the area’s desire for a park at the former St. Saviour’s Church location in criticizing the plan.

“The city was asked for a park at St. Saviour’s, it instead delivered taxpayer-funded warehouses,” Wilkinson said. “The city was asked for a recreation center in Glendale, instead they want to authorize a taxpayer-funded homeless shelter at that location. It seems whatever amenities our blue-collar communities ask the city for, they instead get something that no one wants.”

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