Jamaica Hills resident Donna Thompson told Community Board 8 last Wednesday about a “gang of homeless men that have taken over my neighborhood.”
Thompson, who lives near the Grand Central Parkway service roads’ intersections with Parsons Boulevard, says that one of the men approaches her regularly.
“I shouldn’t have to get off the bus and be afraid to go into my home or walk two blocks around just to get to my home,” she said.
The Jamaica Hills resident said that the homeless men leave “bottles of feces” on her neighbor’s yard and “leave their carts on other people’s yards.” She added that the men panhandle and “leave trash all throughout the neighborhood.”
She added that she lives with her 82-year-old mother, who suffers from dementia.
At the same CB 8 meeting, NYPD Assistant Chief David Barrere, the commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens South, addressed the board. He spoke with Thompson privately at the meeting.
The Jamaica Hills resident told the Chronicle that a few days later last weekend, a sergeant working under Barrere called her about the situation. As a result, a police car went to the area last weekend, according to Thompson. She added that the NYPD has since told her that the department is “working on it.”
Thompson said in an interview that while she is glad the police have responded, a different kind of solution is necessary to solve the problem in the long term.
“If they want to panhandle, they should have to do it 500 feet away from someone’s house,” she said.
The police press office did not respond prior to deadline after the Chronicle asked if officers had arrested any homeless men in the area by Thompson’s house. The 107th Precinct did not return a request for comment prior to deadline.
“The NYPD has gone by the area and assured us that officers will continue to proactively evaluate this,” Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) said in a prepared statement. “We believe that this situation might be a byproduct of the Par Central Motor Inn, which, as [Human Resources Administration Commissioner] Steve Banks informed the community at a public town hall last month, will be closed sooner rather than later.”
The HRA told the Chronicle that the Par Central is being used to house homeless families with children, but not single men.
“We are utilizing locations like this as a bridge while we phase out the use of all cluster sites and commercial hotels citywide, replacing them with a smaller number of high-quality borough-based facilities,” a spokesperson for the agency said in an emailed statement.
The agency also did not respond to an inquiry about exactly when the hotel will no longer be used as a shelter prior to deadline.