March 21, 2016 By Michael Florio
Security has increased at a local women’s shelter.
Pam’s Place, previously the Verve Hotel located at 40-03 29th St., will have added foot and vehicle patrol, according to the Department of Homeless Services.
These measures come on the heels of two violent outbursts from shelter residents that left police officers and another resident injured. According to CB 1 District Manager Florence Koulouris, a shelter Community Advisory Board meeting was subsequently held that led to the increase in security as well as social services for Pam’s Place residents.
Sera Security, which provides the guards for the shelter, will have two marked vehicles patrolling the shelter and surrounding blocks, from 8 a.m. to midnight. There will be two officers from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and two officers from 4 p.m. until midnight, according to a DHS spokeswoman.
In addition, Sera Security will have guards conducting foot patrols around a five-block radius of the shelter, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
In total, there will be 16 security guards on duty at the shelter. They will work in shifts, with eight officers on duty from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., eight officers on duty from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., and six officers from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., according to the DHS.
This is an increase of two security guards each shift, plus an additional marked vehicle, according to the DHS.
Those clients who do not comply with the Good Neighbor Policy, which is the DHS’ expectations and standards for residents staying in their shelter, will be removed from the shelter. So far, 22 clients have been transferred for not complying with this policy.
In addition to the heightened security, the DHS and the shelter contractor Acacia Network, is working to assist the residents of the shelter.
Of the 200 women living in the shelter, 173 have mental health issues; most are not considered severe, according to the DHS spokeswoman.
“The provider has an on-site care coordinator to coordinate health and mental health services for clients,” the spokeswoman said.
Additionally, 64 residents are participating in community day programs, while 50 are currently employed.
“DHS has Social Workers onsite to provide support with Client Independent Living Plans, training, technical assistance, client engagement, and more,” the spokeswoman said.