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De Blasio to open homeless shelter at East Elmhurst hotel, Daily News reports

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Aug. 23, 2015 Staff Report

Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to open a homeless shelter at the Clarion Hotel in East Elmhurst Monday, reports the Daily News.

The announcement comes just two months after the Department of Homeless Services told the JacksonHeightsPost that it was not eyeing up the 94-00 Ditmars Blvd site despite strong rumors that it was.

“We currently have no plans to use the site,” a DHS spokesman said in a statement in June.

Elected leaders were also concerned about the rumors in June, with State Sen. Jose Peralta saying at the time that he hoped that the DHS would stick to its word and would not open a shelter at the hotel site.

“It is my hope that the Department of Homeless Services is not planning to open a homeless shelter at the former Clarion Hotel LaGuardia Airport,” Peralta said in a statement in June.

Despite widespread concerns, de Blasio told the Daily News that the shelter is expected to open Monday with 169 units. De Blasio told the paper that it would help ensure that there was housing for those in need.

The Clarion Hotel will be located about 2 miles away from the Westway Motor Inn, located at 71-11 Astoria Blvd.

The Westway shelter caused a great deal of controversy when it was converted from an overnight shelter into a long term shelter without community notification last year.

Meanwhile, several community activists continue their opposition against DHS’s plan to convert the Pan Am Hotel at 79-00 Queens Blvd into a permanent shelter.

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45 Comments

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darrell

The only time city officials care about these matters is when there is media coverage. And the media tends to only show residents who oppose shelters when they act heartless, ignorant and xenophobic (ex. The people protesting the Pan American hotel last year holding signs that read “Get A Job” and “stay away from our neighborhood”). The people of East Elmhurst should continue to maintain their homes and address any concerns to the right authorities. They are lucky that the hotel/property is not city owned and there a chance for someone to see it as an investment and good location for other things when the city lease is up in the future.

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Anonymous visitor

The whole situation is disgusting and disappointing. The sad thing is that our lovely politicians don’t care because it’s not their backyard. Try calling Constantinides’ office and see what his secretary says. It’s a recorded speech that she has memorized. If their families were living in the area or if they were, things would be different.

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Alex Tikas

and where do they all trickle down to ? Right on over to Ditmars and 31st street .. Looks like an outdoor Methadone clinic and garbage dump . Embarrassed for what the neighborhood is slowly becoming .. Ship them all to Red Hook .

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Anonymous visitor

This an the westway is horrible for the neighborhood
DiBlasio is an ultra-liberal idiot who is clearly ineffective and is in Shapton’s pocket
When is it a crime to stand up for your community

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Lola

Sorry you are outnumbered…His NYC Preschool Program (basically free babysitting), his stance against the police and stop and frisk and so called Reduction in crime this summer will win him another election..I doubt people outside shelter neighborhoods care where they house the homeless as long as they are off the streets. Only borough that would want him out is Staten Island.

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Just a visitor

Queens is also home to the largest public housing complex in the nation- queens bridge. They are also slated to recive a 10 million dollar tax payer funded program to bring Internet to those residents because it’s a necessity. Where is the incentive to improve your station in life when we just keep handing out money?

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Just a visitor

Look, I am not a heartless person who lacks compassion. Those who truly need help and assistance should be able to recieve it. I do believe that there are plenty of public assistance programs already in place to help those who need it. I think what people should be looking at is the rampant fraud that exists in the already in place programs. People shouldn’t be permanent residents in public housing. If the fraud was exposed and irradicated maybe we wouldn’t need to keep opening shelter after shelter and there would be more money available to house the mentally ill in a safe environment.

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meMEmeME

LOL Supposes ‘Christians’ who care and love others are complaining about those most in need…. THAT is disgusting.

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Anonymous visitor

Yes, those in need that come out of the shelters on their iphone 6. They definitely need a lot of assistance from the city.

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Anonymous visitor

How about if they move next door to you? Would you like for no one to care or to say that your area is ghetto anyway. What kind of logic is that?

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James

I live walking distance to Westway, so they are basically next door to me. However I don’t really care because I don’t loiter around the streets of East Elmhurst complaining about everything I see. Aweee people are upset that they’re getting “harassed” for change? Aweee your scared of black people? Aweee you poor fragile creatures.

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Ben Dover

Your the prejudice f*%k. Nobody mentioned black people. We say homeless people. Why you assume assh*%#le

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Chris

Replace “black people” with whatever other prejudice thing you are thinking is because basically that is his point.

This isn’t about crime. This is about people that make you feel uncomfortable moving into your neighborhood. Because when you actually try to nail down the crime numbers and then try to link anything back to the shelter no one has been able to.

There are little kids that have to live there for no fault of their own and there are parents at the park talking about how these people are “disgusting” or whatever at the same park where these kids play as well.

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Anonymous visitor

People aren’t heartless; they are realistic. They are realistic because they know that their real estate prices are going down. They know that crime has gone up. That’s not being heartless. It’s heartless when those that are elected by the community do nothing to help it.

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Just a visitor

It may seem like apples and oranges (homeless shelter = crime) but to some of us, it’s all still fruit. Most of the people who are housed in these shelters have some sort of mental deficiency. I am simply stating what I have observed from walking the streets of astoria everyday. Since the turning of westway into a shelter, the influx of homeless is not easily ignored. I’ve had to swat one away who reached out an attempted to touch my two year old on the arm. He may have meant no harm but you never know. He was wearing a Burger King crown so he may have just been excited about his birthday and wanted my daughter to share in his joy. On another occasion I had some poor wayward soul utter some very vulgar comments to me as I strolled my two daughters. Yes, I hope sincerely they keep putting these down on their luck, just need a break stand up citizens in my backyard.

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Just a visitor

It may not be criminal to you to have someone reach out and touch your daughter or sexual harass you but to me it’s criminal. Arrestable? no. When one of them attempt to rob me I’ll be sure to repost a more definable offense for you.

Chris

Don’t get so offended. Try to stick to the facts. It’s not criminal to anybody because it’s not a crime.

If you were truly being harassed then it would be criminal. Btu what makes you think dumping the people on the street verses having them in one building would make the situation better?

I’m trying to determine if crime has increased and there seems to be no evidence that crime has increased. Maybe rude behavior has increased but I haven’t noticed that at all either. I pass the shelter every day.

You are so concerned about the homeless shelter there’s been sex offenders living all over the neighborhood for years in regular houses.

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Just a visitor

I am not saying to dump them in the street at all. Westway, the clarion, pan American and possible two other homeless shelters opening up in LIC and Glendale. Why should queens house 5 shelters? I don’t have statistics for you. But can we at least agree that people in their right mind don’t touch small children in the street or tell a young mother pushing her two small children that he wants to suck her p***y? These people shouldn’t be on the streets or in shelters. They need to be hospitalized.

Chris

Read the link below. Our area is not even in the top ten. The closet to us is CB12 which covers most of Jamaica. Most of The Bronx, Manhatten and Brooklyn have more homeless shelters than our area. What you are seeing IS spreading them around. Once section in Harlem has 19 shelters. You have 5. There’s million dollar condos going up blocks from those shelters.

Yes, they do indeed need to be hospitalized so tell your state and national reps to stop cutting funding for mental health services and tell your government you want to pay more in taxes to help pay for it.

https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20150824/belmont/map-10-community-districts-carry-bulk-of-citys-homeless-shelters

Just a visitor

And if not for the Con-Ed guy who heard what this “gentleman” said to me who stepped closer to me to intervene should he have too, maybe I could have reported and actually crime to boost the crime statistics.

Anonymous visitor

I don’t think that it needs to be questioned. How about walking by Westway, for example, and seeing what happens. How about seeing those who visit the homeless? How about the fact that it housed a convicted criminal who was then removed but can still come visit his family whenever he feels like it? How about children being hassled and harassed as they walk? How about asking the 114th Precinct to tell you the percentage regarding the number of crimes, including muggings and theft, that have been committed in the area since Westway became a homeless shelter, despite community uproar? How about the fact that the issues above didn’t exist at the degree that they do when Westway wasn’t a homeless shelter?

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Chris

It does need to be questioned because I don’t think you can prove anything you said.

“How about the fact that the issues above didn’t exist at the degree that they do when Westway wasn’t a homeless shelter?”

Prove it. The crime statistics doesn’t support your claim. I’m not saying crime has not increase or that it has increased. I want real evidence . Not a bunch of prejudice people gossiping about what their neighbor heard from another neighbor. I live by there and I have not had any issues.

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Anonymous visitor

Read “Westway Woes snag town hall focus” in the Queen Chronicle published May 15, 2015. It says “Captain Dennis Mullaney of the 114th Precinct said that when the shelter became permanent, there was a slight increase in crime.”

Anonymous visitor

People are not being heartless. They are being realistic. This is beyond disgusting. It’s funny how the city officials don’t put them near their homes. It’s funny how they decide what to do months in advance and then have the nerve to lie to people in the community. Unfortunately, this is another way of ruining neighborhoods. Homeless people should be given shelter in the area that they live in; not dumped in areas where people work hard to save their money to buy a house to provide a better future for their families. Because of Westway, real estate prices have gone down but no one cares. Because of Westway, crime rates have gone up and no one cares. It’s funny how all the elected officials in the area are against it but are doing absolutely nothing to stop it. That’s heartless.

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Harry Ballsagna

I love that people prefer the homeless to be on the street. A bunch of “not in my neighborhood” jerks.

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Ashley

If anyone has walked outside their apartments/homes or been on the subway you’d understand the desperate need for housing for the homeless. How can everyone be so heartless?

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Ben Dover

GREAT!!! Another homeless shelter lover!! You would change how you feel real quick, if you came home and found your home vandalized, or you kids bicycle missing from your back yard, or harassed on the street for money or a cigarette. How about robbed at gun point like the guy at P.S.2 way back by the homeless guy from Westway motel. Or even better, if one of these disqusting filthy animals tries to hit on you. Bet you would shit a brick then. Glad to see that you want to help people. But their is plenty of vacant land in the Bronx and Staten Island that you can put up buildings and house these low life’s. Not in a neighborhood that every resident pays 8 to 10 thousand in property taxes a year

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Ashley

Homeless shelter lover? No I just believe that sheltering people that need it is fine by me. People already ask me for money/food probably daily on my commute and anyone who rides the subway can say the same. Also – I get hit on by construction workers and other people who are working FAR more than by homeless people. Many of your complaints about homeless people completely missed the mark. It makes more sense for a building to be purchased to deal with the problem NOW rather then purchase some vacant land in staten island and somehow try to get people back to work or to the appropriate treatments centers.

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Ben Dover

Don’t be so naive. Nobody cares about these people. Not even the city. They are just unloading them on us so they don’t have to deal with them. If I was in charge I would change the system around. You wouldn’t be able to be a career homeless person. Anybody that would be apart of any government program would have to get drug tested. If you fail, you would be entered into a rehab program. Welfare would be a 3 month deal with a 3 month extension. I would build buildings for DHS to house the homeless (of course in less desirable neighborhoods to keep costs down). Not spend taxpayers money on hotel rooms. The mayor and DHS are housing families of up to 4 people in an 80 sq ft room and paying up to $3200 a month for each one of those rooms. Who is heartless?? Who sounds stupid?? ME?? Or the mayor and DHS for treating these people worse than animals. If there were dogs living in there, the ASPCA would come retrieve them. I can put these families in 3 bedroom apts with 2 baths and 2 balconies for this type of money. But they rather dump this problem on our community and not deal with it themselves. Their too important for this. So for all the naive people out there that really believe the city cares for the homeless, I feel sorry for you. These people are animals and they need to be transformed into human beings again. Like the dog that you release in the wild. It’s eat or be eaten

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fatherFred

You should be ashamed of yourself for calling these people ‘animals’

NYC DOT B.S.

I live in the neighborhood. Found needles in front of my house,8 cars on my block got vandalized. Bicycles stolen, people wandering in driveways, delivery men robbed, people walking out of restaurants skipping out on their bills, liquor stores held up at gunpoint, gas stations vandalized, people ringing bells looking for $. The shelter was to be for women and children. A sex offender from bronx was transfered to facility and there are men there as well. Simotas and Constantinides are doing nothing other than waiting to be endorsed by Deblasio.
I and a Civic association have filed lawsuits against the Comptroller, DEPT of Homeless Services, WIN company that runs shelter (WIN means “women in need “) what are men and sex offenders doing there? Also sued were the owners of hotel and their mgmt., company.
In addition there are 6 persons living in one room. There are no fire alarms in building. The hotel is on Astoria Blvd., I hate driving there because of volume of traffic, tractor trailers,vans , cabs and general traffic. Kids are walking along that route et.. How crazy is that ?
Why doesnt the city revamp schools that have been closed and make these permanent homes as states have done in mid-west ?

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angela

liars at their best — it is a disgrace – look at what happened at the pan american hotel nobody but I mean nobody knew what this but you can rest assure the counselman knew all about what was going on — total BS

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