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Queens Chronicle

No family shelter for Bayside: DHS

Agency looking for 6 sites in Queens

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Posted: Wednesday, November 26, 2014 10:30 am

It’s official: There will be no city homeless shelter in Bayside.

City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) reports that he was officially notified by the Department of Homeless Services that the plan to put one there, announced in October, has been taken off the table.

“Listening to our concerns, the DHS confirmed that they are no longer considering Bayside for an emergency shelter,” said Lionel Morales, Vallone’s spokesman.

The agency announced last month that six shelters would be placed throughout the borough under an emergency declaration, which means the city can act in seven days with no public input.

Susan Seinfeld, district manager of Community Board 11, said that Queens has been targeted because it has fewer homeless shelters than any other of the boroughs.

Although DHS officials won’t disclose possible sites in the borough, most of the recently installed ones in Queens are in former hotels. In June, the Pan Am Hotel on Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst became a family shelter practically overnight.

When Bayside’s name came up as a possible location, Vallone told the agency that it was a poor choice because of lack of public transportation and services for potential shelter families.

Earlier this month, Seinfeld had said that the DHS had found no viable locations in Bayside. Now it is backing down completely.

“I thank the Department of Homeless Services for listening to our concerns and deciding to abandon plans for an emergency shelter in Bayside,” Vallone said. “As I’ve said before, my district not only has the lowest population of homeless persons in the city, but Bayside lacks the infrastructure and public transportation to support an emergency shelter. I’m glad that the DHS considered these obstacles and concerns, and came to agree that Bayside is an inappropriate location.”

DHS spokesman Chris Miller indicated Monday the agency is exploring every viable site for shelters. Vallone’s letter saying the plan was dead was signed by Deputy Commissioner Camille Rivera.

Welcome to the discussion.