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Another homeless shelter planned for East Elmhurst without community feedback, pols say


Oct. 17, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan

The Department of Homeless Services has plans to partially convert an East Elmhurst hotel in to a shelter for homeless people, according to a statement from several local politicians.

Congressman Joseph Crowley, State Senator Jose Peralta and Assemblyman Francisco Moya released a joint statement today condemning the DHS plan to partially convert the Courtyard by Marriott hotel at 90-10 Ditmars Boulevard to house single homeless men.

According to the statement, DHS plans to put up to 60 homeless men in to the hotel, and did not inform elected officials or community members of the plan.

This plan comes on the heels of several similar incidents involving DHS converting hotels to shelters with no notice to the community.

These incidents include conversions of the Westway Motel in Astoria/East Elmhurst early last year, the Quality Inn on Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside/Woodside in August, and most recently, the highly controversial Holiday Inn Express in Maspeth.

The Maspeth shelter plan resulted in protests outside of the Brooklyn home of the Commissioner of the Department of Social Services Steven Banks, and the plan was recently dropped.

“Again, these plans were implemented without any community involvement. 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,” the statement read.

“We will fiercely continue in our opposition to additional shelter facilities within the area. 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,” the three politicians concluded.

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Just read about a small motel (Playland Motel) opening up its doors to homeless families even though they have something like 12 rooms. It is so obvious that a lot of these hotel owners are signing up with the city shelter system to make a profit instead of trying to fill their rooms with tourists/guests. The people of Maspeth focused on the mayor, certain city and the hotel owner. They started funding the movement, got lawyers and managed to stop it from going permanent. We should all learn from them.


I would like to hear some legal and pragmatic solutions.

What should we do for the immediate problem and what should be done long term?

It is easier to get people to see your point of view if you propose a solution. No one wants to live by a homeless shelter, but we have homeless people. So what should we do?


Seriously. People have a lot of loud criticisms, but few ever offer other alternatives. However, putting it that close to a busy street is a pretty bad idea. They need to be closer to the train station. The government should build permanent housing for the homeless on 20th ave in Astoria where there are so many unused factories.


People from Elmhurst and Central Queens do go homeless themselves. It would be much better for people in this part of Queens to have a place to go if they go homeless as opposed to being dumped in the worst parts of Brooklyn or the Bronx, which often enough happens. I actually know the welfare system pretty well, and I’m not spouting ideology on this. Therefore, i am fine with these shelters.


Enough already! I’m Latina and I’ve lived in this neighborhood for over 25 years. I’ve lived here through many changes. This is not a change I want for my neighborhood. I have children now. I want the best for them, just like any parent. And the best does not mean living with more homelessness than my neighborhood can hold. Most of us are just accustomed to a certain level of living and want a clean, safe area for our kids to flourish in. And we don’t want to have to move to accomplish that. I used to work by a men’s homeless shelter. Many of the homeless men would sit around all day, smoke and drink, hassle store owners and customers and in general be a public nuisance,


Deblasio and all involved with creating these welfare hotels should be charged with misappropriation of public funds. It cost close to $4,000.00 a month to house people at these facilities. Welfare hotels were a proven failed policy and scam back in the 80’s and these crooked politicians have brought the scam back. If you can’t afford to live here you move to a place you can afford just like many of our good hard working friends and relatives have done that’s capitalism.


So What! I am sure the markets and fast food establishments are pretty happy about this. And of course the owner is thrilled. We will wait a couple of minutes more for Chinese food or Domino’s to be delivered due to the high demand..big deal!


I wonder if some of these homeless men are from the Van Cortlandt Motel (in Riverdale) that the city relocated in late September. The Van Cortlandt Motel a men’s shelter has long been known a place for assignations, suspected drug use, and linked to violent crimes and theft.


Its incredible how hotels get paid so much by the city that they ignore paying customers/guests and reputations. Personally I would never stay at a hotel where the homeless is being housed. Years ago I went to Miami (South Beach) on vacation (before yelp and on line reviews) and walked right out of the hotel I booked when I trusted my instincts (based on what I saw when I arrived) and found out they were housing homeless men.


Maybe they will find some friends at the nearby Westway. Save some money on hotels with hourly rates.


Just plain ridiculous! Bravo to the people of Maspeth that continue to protest! A men’s shelter is one of worst kind of shelters for any neighborhood.


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