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State Sen. passes bill requiring Homeless Services to notify public before installing shelters

westway-motor-inn-homless-shelter-462x242May 29, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge

The State Senate is attempting to change the way homeless shelters are installed in New York City, a process that many in the Queens community believe has been significantly abused over the past year.

On Wednesday, the Senate passed legislation that would require supportive housing facilities or social service centers, including homeless shelters, to notify local community boards and the City Planning Commission of a planned site.

CPC would then approve, modify or deny the shelter, or suggest an alternative location, according to the legislative text.

Possible shelters would then be reviewed by the City Comptroller, as they already do, according to State Sen. Jose Peralta, who co-sponsored the bill.

“We would slow the process down, so there can be more community input,” Peralta said.

According to the Senator, this legislation would also impact the establishment of emergency shelters, which the City Department of Homeless Services used last year to quietly install long term facilities at Elmhurst’s former Pan Am hotel and East Elmhurst’s former Westway Motel, inspiring substantial outrage from western Queens residents and elected officials.

The legislation requires Homeless Services to report to the community even when it establishes emergency shelters. “Currently what happens now: there’s an emergency situation, they hide behind [that],” Peralta said.panam

Earlier this month, City Comptroller Scott Stringer rejected a proposed contract with shelter provider Samaritan Village to make Pan Am a permanent facility, sending it back to the Mayor for further review.

Peralta said he would expect much of the public comment necessitated by this bill to involve pushback against the planned facilities.

“No one, no community, will immediately jump up and say, ‘yes in my backyard,” Peralta said. “This is more for creating transparency.”

“You would give the community the opportunity to express themselves, and some of the issues can be dealt with,” he continued.

The Department of Homeless Services did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

The bill has been introduced in the State Assembly and has yet to come up for a vote.

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5 Comments

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They're_Ruining_Astoria

They selfish phony Christians who worry about their property values going down are full of hot air… the property values continue to rise in that area. Stick a sock in it and be a bit more empathetic to your fellow man.

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Astoria Resident

The majority of homeless people have bigger problems than being homeless. Their problems likely led to their homelessness. They need treatment not homes. Just sheltering them does nothing but cause crime to go up in the neighborhoods where they’re placed, and property values to go down.

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Anonymous visitor

No one is saying let the homeless rot, but there are other suitable places to house them besides residential areas where the residents had absolutely no say what happens in their neighborhood. Tax payers voices should be heard and respected. Things work both ways; not just one. Trying to pass the temporary shelter as a permanent one without notifying anyone is not how a system is supposed to work. Calling it an emergency to have it go into effect, is not reaching out to the community.Having a meeting in the city where no one is able to go due to the fact that is was during the morning of a work week is not how it is supposed to be. Those who have lived in the area for decades should be allowed to voice their opinion and that opinion should matter. The politicians need to do what is right for the people they represent and for the community as a whole. Finally, the residents who have sacrificed for years, have something going their way.

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angela

this is a joke our counsel men/women know all about this — it was approved with their blessings and at the end they say they knew nothing about it — follow the money and the bs for sure —

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