Oct. 19, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan
Politicians are skeptical of claims from The Department of Homeless Services that there are no current plans to convert an East Elmhurst hotel in to a homeless shelter.
On Monday, State Sen. Jose Peralta, Congressman Joseph Crowley and Assemblyman Francisco Moya released a statement claiming that DHS had plans to partially convert the Courtyard by Marriot hotel at 90-10 Ditmars Boulevard in to a homeless shelter.
They called it a “troubling development” that DHS did not notify the community or politicians about the development, and stated, “While our communities remain very sympathetic to the ongoing issue of homelessness in New York, it is true that we have already carried our fair share of this problem by hosting no less than five shelters in our neighborhoods.”
However, DHS claims that there is no homeless shelter planned for that particular hotel.
“There are currently no plans to convert this hotel into a shelter or to temporarily rent rooms to help meet our legal and moral obligation to shelter homeless New Yorkers. We do have an open-ended RFP and are always looking to review strong proposals, but the Department of Homeless Services has not received a proposal for this location,” said Lauren Gray of DHS in a statement.
Peralta, however, stands by the statement he co-released on Monday.
He said, “When we reached out to DHS asking about the possible conversion of the Clarion Hotel into a homeless shelter, DHS also said there were currently no plans for that purpose…Two months later, the Clarion Hotel was transformed, changed its name to The Landing and it opened as a homeless shelter. Based on that record, how can I trust DHS?”
The Landing was converted just over a year ago at 94-00 Ditmars Boulevard, despite heavy community opposition.
“Simply put, DHS must work to solve the pervasive issues of homelessness through ongoing dialogue with affected communities and their elected officials. Continued unilateral action by DHS fails to provide any measure of a meaningful framework for a long-term solution to these problems,” read the politicians’ initial statement.