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DHS To Open 200-Room Women’s Shelter In Dutch Kills

Verve

Verve

Oct. 5, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge

A new homeless shelter will open in western Queens, this time in the Dutch Kills area.

The 200-resident shelter, which will be for women, will open at the Verve Hotel, located at 40th Avenue and 29th Street, according to Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and several others who attended a meeting with the DHS and the Mayor’s office on Friday.

The City is in gear to take over the hotel within the next week.

This will be the second shelter the City is opening this year, and the second in Community Board 1’s district after the Westway at 71-11 Astoria Blvd. It will join a handful of others in the western Queens area that were opened with minimal community notification, including most recently the Landing Hotel Shelter in East Elmhurst.

A particular worry for Dutch Kills residents is that the Verve shelter will be one of many shelter conversions for this area, which is currently undergoing a hotel boom.

“If the administration succeeds in siting this shelter, we’ll work with everyone to make sure that both the women are cared for and the neighborhood is cared for,” Van Bramer said. “But going forward, with over 20 hotels just like this one having opened in the Dutch Kills area, we cannot have a domino effect where these hotels all become homeless shelters.”

“The residents of Dutch Kills have rightly been concerned that the massive number of hotels opening in their midst would be converted to other uses and this news confirms their fears,” State Sen. Michael Gianaris similarly said in a statement.

Friday’s attendees were also concerned about the shelter’s proximity to schools, Van Bramer said.

The Verve Hotel is steps from the Growing Up Green charter school, Newcomers High School and the Academy of American studies high school.

Regarding the shelter’s proximity to Growing Up Green, Community Board 1 District Manager Florence Koulouris said, “that’s a bit troublesome.”

“We want people to have a place to stay,” she added. “But is this really the right location?”

“I certainly can understand that some parents might be concerned to learn that a homeless shelter is opening across the street from their child’s elementary school,” Van Bramer said, adding that social services and facility security were major themes.

Employment help, money management and mental health services will be provided on site, among others.

Security at the shelter will include 24/7 staff stationed inside and outside, scanners at the shelter entrance, and a series of cameras, among others.

Ishanee Parikh, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s office, said, “we’re seeing more single adult women entering our shelter system and we want to ensure we can provide shelter and services – including employment services and clinical services – to these women as they rebuild their lives.”

According to the Mayor’s office, the notification process for this shelter began last week, although the specifics of this process were not provided.

Neither Van Bramer nor Koulouris were aware of other meetings that have been held so far regarding the shelter.

Lymaris Albors of shelter provider Acacia Network directed all inquiries to the DHS.

The DHS did not respond to questions or requests for comment on this story.

As of Monday, the Verve Hotel was still accepting reservations.

 

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15 Comments

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Anonymous

I am a frequent out-of-state visitor to New York and have stayed in the Verve, numerous times. It was a lovely hotel. Spotlessly clean, kind thoughtful staff, nice breakfast, business center and king rooms for around $100 a day, some with Jacuzzi rooms. I am shocked that it became a homeless shelter, but I hope that the women are able to rebuild their lives.

Reply
Bev

I live by Westway and I wish these homeless families were required to take parenting courses. I can not take the way some of these mothers and fathers parade around the neighborhood cursing and scolding on their phones in front of their young children. Reminds me of my old neighborhood in the south Bronx. And yes some city shelters are filthy but how about teaching the people who are housed in these shelters some responsibility such as taking out the trash, storing food properly, vacuuming and cleaning spills, etc.! Poverty is no excuse to live like pigs.

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Frances Michaels

We don’t need this bullcrap here. We want a SAFE & CLEAN PLACE TO LIVE IN !!! LET THEM PUT THOSE SHELTERS IN CRAPPY NEIGHBORHOODS !! PRETTY SOON WE (RESIDENTS) ARE GOING TO BE HITTING THE STREETS …….PROTESTING !!! ENOUGH !!

Reply
Kayla

You are so right! In reality city shelters are so poorly maintained by the city, plagued by fire, health and safety code violations for which taxpayers are paying crazy rent. This is like a slap in the face from the city for working so hard to pay high taxes, rents and bills and maintain our homes!

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Dan

Astoria is now surrounded by homeless shelters. East Elmhurst and Long Island City. Due to business establishments, Ditmars Blvd has its fair share of shelter wanderers and now 36 Avenue/Broadway will have its own. I wonder what role, if any, the proximity of these shelters will have in the future. Personally, i would not pay high rent or buy around these places especially if I was new and visited these areas during the day.

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Bill

Where do i sign up to house someone? I want to rent out my spare bedroom for 2,000 or 3,000 a month.

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Rosemarie

I don’t even agree with the homeless shelter concept.

If rents were brought down to a normal level, we could house everyone, but it seems the mayor has no real outside the box thinking. Or he’s in bed with these developers overbuilding Astoria with no potential tenants. Who is going to pay $3000 to $5000 for a one bedroom apt in Astoria? The same developers are in Management Companies and run the real estate show in Astoria. Stop building these shoebox size apartments.

Reply
Vakot

Many homeless people are mentally ill. However, there are also people that know that is is the road to affordable or free housing. You either do not work or do not look for better work to keep your city/state benefits (medicaid, food stamps, rent vouchers etc.). Then, If you are evicted (because a city program is no longer available or because home owners decide to no longer accept Rent Subsidy) you end up in a city homeless shelter and wait for the city to house you when an apartment is available. Many people choose this option and way of living.

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Ceron

Newcomers High School is across the street from this hotel! I hope they will have extra police and security for the sake of the students that have to pass by this place daily! Yes there are woman who really need the shelter but but can you imagine the possible number of addicts, mentally ill and prostitutes that will be housed there. And just because it is a woman’s shelter it does not mean that men will not be allowed to visit. Seems like the city is shopping around to place these people wherever they can.

Reply
Shirley

Very few people outside a shelter neighborhood care where the city houses the homeless as long as they are off the streets. Hotel owners and local business (i.e. delis, supermarkets, take out places) profit from these places opening up. These old hotels/motels can not compete with the new ones being built so they just rent them out to the city. At least, it is a woman’s shelter and not a mens. Try googling sex offenders in the 11101 zip code and you will see how many are listed in a mens shelter in that area. Do not buy homes near hotels/motels.

Reply
Anonymous visitor

DiBlasio is out to screw Astoria where are the shelters in Park Slope
Guy is a racist
Anti middle claa

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