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Precinct Asks For Help Securing Homeless Shelter After Violent Incidents Break Out


Feb. 17, 2016 By Michael Florio

The Commanding Officer of the 114 Precinct has called on the community board for help in combating crime at a women’s homeless shelter in Long Island City, following two violent incidents that broke out at the shelter last week.

Captain Peter Fortune addressed Community Board 1 at its monthly meeting Tuesday and asked the Board to reach out to the City regarding the women’s shelter in the former Verve Hotel, located at 40-03 29th Street.

Fortune informed the Board of two incidents where residents of the shelter had to be arrested, with one resident assaulting police officers.

The first incident occurred on Feb. 11, where police responded to a dispute between two roommates. As police arrived, one roommate struck the other in the head with a metal object, Fortune said.

The suspect was arrested and taken to Cornell Hospital’s psychiatric center for evaluation. Upon arrival, as the suspect was being taken out of the ambulance, she assaulted an officer.

“She head butted the officer,” Fortune said. “That officer has been out with injuries.”

While in the hospital, the suspect struck an officer numerous times with a metal IV pole and kicked him. That officer has needed treatment as well.

Then on Feb. 12, a resident refused to go through the shelter’s metal detectors and began to act aggressively, Fortune said. She broke the metal detectors and then began throwing chairs and bottles around the lobby.

She was arrested and brought to Cornell Hospital for a psychiatric exam, Fortune said.

Fortune said he subsequently spoke to the shelter contractor, the Acacia Network, and they were not aware of these incidents or arrests.

He added that the Precinct has received complaints from neighboring business owners, primarily bodega owners, who say residents from the shelter harass them.

Meanwhile, CB 1 District Manager Florence Koulouris said Acacia is supposed to be patrolling the area in a marked car but has not been doing so, instead stating that their marked car is in the shop and using an unmarked car instead. She called this “completely unacceptable” and urged a more visible security presence.

The shelter is approaching maximum capacity of 200 women, according to Fortune.

“We have to dedicate resources to go down there,” he told the Board.

“The Board can help by writing a letter to DHS and ask for a little more coordination between them and the police department,” he continued. “Communicate with them [DHS] and get us a little more help.”

When asked for comment, the DHS outlined its security operations.

“Our number one priority is ensuring the safety of our residents in shelters, as well as the surrounding communities,” a spokesperson wrote in an E-mail. “We currently have 24/7 security at this specific facility with four to six security guards on duty throughout the day.”

“We are continuing to review security needs and will continue to work with community leaders as we do so,” the spokesperson’s E-mail read.

The Acacia Network did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Following Fortune’s presentation, CB 1 decided to send a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and the DHS to ask for support in ensuring the safety and health of the residents, as well as the surrounding community. Koulouris said Wednesday that they are in the process of drafting this letter.

“When we had meetings [before the shelter residents moved in], they said they would have the proper staff, the proper guidance,” she said. “We want the best management company possible for these woman so that while they’re here, they’re safe and they’re secure.”

Since the letter is not finalized, she could not speak to specifics of what they will ask for.

“I’m not sure what we’re going to be asking for yet,” Koulouris said. “We’re going to review all the options necessary to make this a good situation.”

“Our concern is the safety of the residents as well as the safety of the police and the safety of the community,” she added. “You shouldn’t have to go to bed and be afraid your roommate’s going to hit you with a metal object.”

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who had a representative at the Community Board 1 meeting Tuesday, said today that he had reached out to DHS about the problem and was assured by the administration additional security officers would be provided.

“The reports from the 114th Precinct are disconcerting,” Van Bramer said in a statement. “I have voiced my concerns about the shelter to the Department of Homeless Services and the Administration. And I am particularly troubled by reports that the provider of services at the shelter, Acacia, has not been doing adequate neighborhood patrols.”

“The Administration has confirmed to my office that they will be adding additional security officers at the Verve shelter,” Van Bramer said.

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I have found out from strong resources that my mentally ill daughter is there. I have called them time and again to let me have a talk with her but they declined. I am really ready to give her financial help and take her in but they won’t let me talk to her. Just imagine not getting birthday wishes from loved ones, Recently I found out from a source that she is not keeping her doctor’s visits. Her insurance has expired. They wont do anything to renew it. She is a mental patient and cannot use cell phone still they say contact her by her cell phone. Their only concern is money from the government. What they should do is contact the resident’s loved ones and ask them for help. But they would rather let the residents die in a fight. I am ready to take her in my home and give her the best of care.

Anonymous visitor

Harry Ballsagna
Your a liberal ass
Open your doors to homeless
Let’s see how long u last
Bleeding heart liberal hipster low life


This probably happened during the freezing temperatures when people were either forced to go to the shelter or were staying there as a last resort. I am sure once the weather gets warmer a lot of the mentally ill will chose to live back to the streets or subways. Then, the city and shelter will report how crime and incidents were down and that the problem has been resolved.


The vast majority of people do not live near homeless shelters. Hence, voters and politicians do not care anymore where they house the homeless. All these places are becoming permanent in the neighborhood despite issues.


What’s the conservative Republican plan to address homelessness and the mentally I’ll? Are you sure a Liberal Democrat owns that hotel? America needs to start implementing policies that mirror Canada, Germany, Norway, Australia…you know the liberal democracies..They have over come these social issues decades ago..


Yeah and now they are being taken over by Islam you fool. The weak minded nations are falling to an aggressive and merciless Islam.

You thought you were clever

Most of the founders were deists, hence separation of church and state. You learn this high school…


-anon Wow you are really behind the times. Go get caught up with the rest of us and society. So you know German history with the mentally ill , do you know American history with the mentally ill? Dr. Walter Jackson Freeman II and lobotomy which could be performed so quickly and easily, the trans- orbital craze swept the nation’s asylums. Freeman himself performed over 3,000 lobotomies and was labeled the traveling lobotomist. Trans- orbital lobotomies were performed on hundreds of Athens Asylum patients in the early 1950s. In a local newspaper, on November 20, 1953, the headline read “Lobotomies are Performed on 31 Athens State Hospital Patients,” and the article boasted that nearly 25 of those who received surgery would be able to go home with their relatives Sunday. Freeman and the trans-orbital lobotomy stirred up harsh criticism from those who learned of his flamboyant methodology. Due to the number of complications and deaths that resulted from the procedure, it was referred to as “psychic mercy killing” and “euthanasia of the mind.” This was by far mental health care’s darkest hour.

Along with the common use of lobotomy procedures in asylums, electro-convulsiveshock treatment continued to be a dominant practice. Thenumbers continued to rise in the institutions, and caregivers and attendants remained scarce. Rumors of abuse and neglect flooded communities who once were proud of their community asylums. In the 1950s.

Shortly after the asylum population explosion in the mid 1900s, when mental health treatment was arguably at its worst, an apparent salvation emerged. Psychotropic medication was pioneered. In 1954 the medical community introduced an anti-psychotic drug called Thorazine for the treatment of the mentally ill. In rapid succession, other psychotropic medications became available, making it possible to cut substantially the length of time patients stayed in mental institutions. This breakthrough led to a significant decline in asylum populations, and the gradual discontinuation of less humane treatments and procedures. things are different today in both America and Germany. Germany’s system is much more comprehensive, fiscally responsible and not nearly as socially problematic as the system is in the US.


Anonymous visitor:
D bag lost a debate how so? Study German history, and eugenics in the 30s and 40s. Psychotropic medication is great, but getting the patients to take it everyday is hit or miss. How many times do we see on the news that the “attacker was usually fine” but had stopped taking their medication.

The world will change and you will be forgotten

Anonymous, you are speaking to an empty crowd. Nothing gets through these dense skulls. People choose to be uneducated.

Anonymous visitor

This is ridiculous
Liberal Democrats ruining Astoria
When will this happen at the West Way
All our representatives are DiBlasio clones
Time to elect new representatives


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