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Queens Chronicle

Pols, community rip city over shelter

Proposed Cooper Avenue site is criticized at town hall; new suit eyed

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Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2019 10:30 am

PS/IS 119 was so jam-packed for a town hall last Thursday about the proposed homeless shelter for 200 men scheduled to open in early 2020 at 78-16 Cooper Ave. that residents lined the walls, sat in auxiliary bleachers and even had to watch from the stage as politicians spoke.

“We will not accept City Hall dictating what our neighborhood should have,” Councilman Bob Holden (D-Middle Village) told the crowd.

He also pointed the finger at whom he believes is responsible for the situation.

“It’s the poverty pimps,” Holden said. “The people that make money, so-called not-for-profits, off of homeless shelters, which is big business in the City of New York.”

In late August, Holden announced he and other elected officials had received word from the Department of Homeless Services that the agency intends to move forward with the shelter. For years the community has voiced its opposition to the plan. Holden wants to see a District 75 school serving special needs students at the site instead.

He also took aim at Mayor de Blasio for, he said, not wanting to work with the community.

“He’d rather go around thinking that he could become our president,” Holden said, hours before de Blasio dropped out of the 2020 presidential race.

According to Holden — based on information from a recent meeting with the Department of Homeless Services, the Mayor’s Office and service provider Westhab — the average length of a stay for a resident in this type of shelter is nine months. If a resident doesn’t find employment he will be transferred to another type of shelter.

There will be dormitory-style living conditions with six, 10 or 12 residents per room, according to information Holden and other elected officials were given at the meeting.

Westhab will have eight case managers and two social workers on staff. An in-house security staff of 40 guards and six supervisors will work in three-hour shifts to provide security 24 hours a day.

A roving vehicle will patrol the perimeter of the property. If shelter residents are seen loitering, the guards will ask them to return to the building but cannot force them to. Shelter residents are required to leave their dorm during the day but are not required to leave the building.

Westhab will have 15-passenger vans to take residents to public transportation.

Approximately 20 residents will be moved into the building per week until it reaches capacity. Priority will be given to people from within Community District 5, then other Queens residents and finally others throughout the city.

State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) also took aim at de Blasio, encouraging the community to try and stop the shelter “to show this mayor, just because he’s king of New York City in his eyes, that he can’t go around the rules that homeowners have to deal with.”

Addabbo said when Michael Bloomberg was mayor, he would look at all five boroughs for shelter sites “without pitting one against the other.”

“We never saw this kind of anger, this kind of animosity, this kind of attrition in our communities,” Addabbo said.

Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) spoke about his Home Stability Support plan, a proposed supplement for those facing eviction, homelessness or loss of housing due to domestic violence or hazardous conditions.

He noted that he previously couldn’t get the plan through the Republican-controlled Senate but now that the Democrats make up the majority, it’s Gov. Cuomo who kills the bill.

Hevesi pointed out Cuomo started a group called Housing Enterprise for Less Privileged in 1986, and people associated with its board have contributed to previous Cuomo campaigns.

“I understand you’re mad at the mayor, I understand you’re mad at the city and I understand you don’t want this shelter but I’m telling you unless we deal with this bigger problem, this macro issue of the governor ... protecting a select group of people who are making money off of homelessness,” the situation won’t change, Hevesi said.

The assemblyman said he doesn’t like the proposed shelter but won’t oppose it.

“I’m not for it but I’m not going to oppose it because I’m spending all of my time ... to get rent supplements done,” Hevesi said.

Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) criticized city officials saying, “I don’t like the way they operate. They’re not good to the community.”

Miller added, “My issue is with the process, with the deception, with the bait and switch.”

Kathy Masi, president of the Glendale Civic Association and a member of Community Board 5, also spoke against the proposed site.

“If everyone here is scared of what’s going to happen, you should be because this is a real possibility,” she said, adding that the only way to stop it is through strength in numbers.

She recommended every person in the audience bring someone to an Oct. 7 public hearing regarding the shelter at Christ the King High School at 7:30 p.m.

Masi also implored residents to donate to the group to pay for an attorney, who could represent them in a lawsuit against the city to block the shelter.

“What I can do as a lawyer is to hold the city’s feet to the fire and make sure that they follow procedures that they’re required to follow,” said Christopher Murray, who represented the group in a previous lawsuit and was in the audience.

Though the previous case was lost, the suit delayed the opening, according to Masi.

Holden wants to stop the shelter “because we have our families here and we invested our entire lives to buy homes and we want a stable neighborhood.”

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3 comments:

  • bruce jacobs posted at 5:57 am on Fri, Nov 8, 2019.

    bruce jacobs Posts: 0

    donavan Richards must be stopped from becoming queens boro president he pushes shelters and prisons and hotel shelters and destroyed the rockaways bruce Jacobs coalition of the rockaways usnavy vet 911 1st responder and fighter for the rockaways and southeast queens and supporter of law and order and medical and religious freedom

     
  • bruce jacobs posted at 10:58 am on Sun, Sep 29, 2019.

    bruce jacobs Posts: 0

    BRUCE JACOBS COALITION OF THE ROCKAWAYS SUPPORTER OF NYS MEDICAL AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM FIGHTER FOR THE ROCKAWAYS AND SOUTHEAST QUEENS REALLY ALL QUEENS AND NY AND POSSIBLE CANDIDATE FOR ASSEMBLY 31 I FIGHT FOR YOU AND DONT BACK DOWN WE DONT WANT PRISONS AND HOTEL AND SHELTERS IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS THESE PEOPLE NEED REAL HELP SUPPORTIVE HOUSING WE FIGHT FOR THE RIGHTS OF LAW ABIDING CITIZENS AND NEVER BACK DOWN IM A 911 1ST RESPONDER AND USNAVY VETERAN AND WORKED 30 YEARS NYC TRANSIT



     
  • bruce jacobs posted at 10:51 am on Sun, Sep 29, 2019.

    bruce jacobs Posts: 0

    THE COALITION OF THE ROCKAWAYS BRUCE JACOBS STANDS WITH ALL THESE COMMUNITIES AGAINST SHELTERS PEOPLE NEED HELP PROGRAMD AND SUPPORTIVE HOUSING INSTEAD OF RUINING EVERYONES LIFE A REAL HOMELESS VET ASK HIM TO GO TO SHELTER AND THEY WILL TELL YOU I RATHER BI IN STREET OR PRISON AND YOU CANT JUST GIVE A APARTMENT WITHOUT SUPPORTIVE HOUUSING FIRST THE COALITION OF THE ROCKAWAYS SUPPORTER OF MEDICAL AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM FIGHTER FOR SOUTHEAST QUEENS AND FARROCKAWAY AND ALL OF NYC I GO TO LAND REVIEW MEETINGS AND ONE PERSON WHO RUNS MOST SHELTERS CLAIMED HE NEEDED VARIANCE TO BUILD SUPPORTIVE HOUSING HOWEVER HE WAS LYING BECAUSE ISAID IF HE CARES SO MUCH JUST BUILD SUPPORTIVE HOUSING