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Westway approved as a permanent homeless shelter, DHS says

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December 30, By Michael Florio

The City has approved a permanent contract for the Westway Motel homeless shelter worth nearly $24 million.

The contract with Women In Need, the operator of the facility, ensures that Westway will remain a permanent homeless shelter until June 30th, 2019, according to a spokeswoman with the Department of Homeless Services (DHS).

Capacity at the 121-family Westway Motel Shelter, located at 71-11 Astoria Blvd.,will not change, according to the DHS.

“We are maintaining the same capacity, without any expansion, and the shelter operator will be able to continue their work as the providers of this specific facility,” a DHS spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail.

She added that with this contract in place, the provider, Women In Need, is now more accountable for the residents of the shelter.

The Westway Motel Shelter opened as a long term facility in July 2014, which resulted in a great deal of controversy. Prior to that time, Westway had operated as an overnight emergency shelter only for years.

Local politicians claimed that the DHS converted the facility to a long term shelter without notifying the community.

Hundreds of residents attended a community meeting in July 2014, with the majority of attendees speaking out in opposition to it.

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70 Comments

Uptight_Transplant

This is the cause of destroying a neighborhood that has been a tight knit community by allowing all of us snooty bagel loving coffee cafe free wifi loving transplants like myself… it’s a little of the mid-west right here is Gaystoria.




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Victor

There are so many so-called ‘homeless’ people to whom if support systems were taken; would suddenly become ‘capable’. I have known of at least one such person. This individual laughed at the all of us who drag out of bed and head to work everyday. This person is in their early 30’s and takes advantage of everything from welfare to his parents’ basement. I lump social systems in with the homeless problem. If we chose not to spend our wealth to support those with their hands out – the vast majority of these leech-humans would suddenly and miraculously find themselves working out solutions for survival on their own. My 2 cents.




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GetOverit

The hysteria that precedes a homeless shelter is far worse than what happens in actuality. Rents and sales prices in wealthier areas stay the same and people get over their baseless fears. The hysteria is laughable. And certainly this community is not the only neighborhood in the city with a shelter “at its doorstep” as some residents believe. NIMBY hysteria.




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Ronda

As a single female who lives in very close proximity to this shelter (and owns a condo), I have no qualms about it. I had no issues with the shelter over the past year and have walked by it numerous times at various hours. The NIMBY’ish, self-absorbed attitude of a select few is the most unsettling to me. Welcome neighbors and enjoy your stay.




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lex

Unfortunately, as of late, rather than helping people in need we resort to blaming them for their situation. This is sad. Shelter should be a guaranteed right for ALL people, without question.




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RS

For goodness sake, let’s be a little bit charitable, shall we? Are you in a place with a ceiling and walls? Are you warm and dry? Are you well fed? Count yourself lucky and understand that you are OBLIGATED to give a damn about others. If, like me, you don’t like that there are people at the end of their rope, don’t get angry at them. Get angry at the folks in power who don’t fix it so everyone who wants to work can get a job that pays enough to live. Vote them out and elect people who will. And let’s all work together to make everyone’s life better. A rising tide, you know? That’s the only way to solve the problem. Peace.




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Helenn

This Shelter has been running 24/7 for over a year. I do not see any problems! The area looks fine to me. There have no big stories about some big crime in the area except for your occasional “he peed on my lawn” or “they smoked weed.” And on a high note, we are helping people and if this shelter stabilizes or decreases rents in the area it is a good thing! Try renting or buying in the area, you will not find ANY bargains!




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Amen

“Everybody’s got to be some place, even those folks who ain’t got no place; if it’s just hanging around on somebody else’s place.”




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Lee

This part of East Elmhurst is like a vacation resort/retreat for the homeless compared to other shelter neighborhoods in the city. Seems like the people near the Pan American Shelter have done a much better of job of preventing it from going permanent (so far). The proposal to make it permanent at the Pan American was rejected twice because of safety and health issues which were made public by their leaders and community.




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Kenny

I would not be surprised if the community near the Pan American planted the rats lol the hotel was cited for. They are quit a rowdy bunch and had made national headlines last year. But, joking aside, i like how their leaders stood by the community and has not backed down.




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The heart and soul aND family of astoria heights

What happened to for homeless commissioners like Taylor and former women in need president bonnie stone? Dilbert Taylor was forced to resign by DiBlasio. I guess because they could not override the controller Scott stringer who opposes the homeless shelter with good reason. Bonnie stone president of women in need whowas in charge of hethe homeless shelter homeless shelter for de Blasio who sees himself as the next the United States president she resign she resign because despite that she was getting close to $300,000 in salary the Treasury and lies and deceit the rabbi and Wall Street powers cool run everything who are the power hungry money hungry people that you don’t know about behind the scenes whose purpose is actually demonic they don’t give a damn about the homeless it’s just a scam to drive down the property values that have gone so high and to drive us who have built the neighborhood for the last 60 years drive us all out take out home and drive out our children and drive us into the grave I’m drivers in to the grave. The point is steal our money play the racist card they are driven by the things that drive is I s you know is Obama names that is I L. I have half a dozen children dozens of true direct love and relatives countless cousin cousin and friends in this neighborhood but de Blasio’s agenda is a bulldozer is a bulldozer and don’t get in front of him he will kill you too he will tell us lies as the devil will lie to you But in the andmayortheazawas just a carpetbagger you will soon be running for President of the United States Sharpton is the vice Pres. Al Sharpton is he is right handyman president DeBlasio Vice President al Sharpton that’s more of a joke and Donald Trump that is more of a joke and Donald Trump welcome to New York City and the apocalypse oh and by the way when I do have to defend ourselves when they break into our homes as they doing now from Westway I thank you was young Obama sharpen DiBlasio oh and bring in the fugitives from Syria hows them in the worst way also even better put them in my house. Or better put them in Obama the Blasio andReverend Al house Mansion New Jersey




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The heart and soul aND family of astoria heights

What happened to for homeless commissioners like Taylor and former women in need president bonnie stone?




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derrick

I’d much rather have the homeless in my community that those who think their wealth and privileged entitles them to exclude others.




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Hey

That’s true! Wealth shouldn’t exclude people. I’m going to take my forever 21 budget and walk on over to Versace. My not being able to afford their clothing shouldn’t exclude me from the right to wear it.




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MyThoughts

The real homeless people in NYC are not walking around with iPhones and down jackets while collecting state and city benefits like most of the people housed at this Motel. They real homeless are the people we see sleeping on the subway and sleeping on the streets or park benches. This shelter is what the Mayor and his administration have created as a long term waiting rooms with beds for Affordable housing. They come from other states or they were pushed out of their apartments because of gentrification. We all see the push to clean up neighborhoods, fight crime, better our schools and provide housing to the younger working class who pay federal, state and city taxes and can afford the high rents and expenses. Most of the people at this Motel know this is just a way of staying in the system and having the government pay for shelter, food and health care.




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Niki

I find the vehement opposition to the homeless shelter offensive and overtly racist. New York City is New York City, not Stanford, CT, which is where I wish you jerks would move.

Can’t believe I’m siding with the city about anything.




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Luv2All

Spend an hour outside of this this shelter and let us know! You will see that the overwhelming majority are minority (non-white) guests. And yes there is fear, ignorance and prejudice these families endure because of that in our community! I know many of the people in this area. The comments that were made to me in private from some East Elmhurst residents about the people and families living at the shelter was disgusting and sad! I am a school teacher and some refuse to even say hi to me now because i fought right back and put them in their place. You can deny it all you want race plays a big factor in every shelter community.




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That's right.

We all judge solely based on race. The content of character doesn’t matter. I’m too blinded by my white privledge and entitlement to have any sympathy. Maybe if I took my hood off I could see better.




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ToNiki

NO ONE has been racist on this blog, why do you even say that? Nor is anyone being mean-spirited. We are just saying enough is enough, it is not fair, and we deserve a break. We work REALLY hard to make our neighborhood safe and improve our quality of life, how dare the City and DHS just move in an take over our community, without our say so. It’s wrong.




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BS

Sounds to me like there is discrimination towards those who are simply looking out for their family and community! These people need help, that is for certain, but not at the expense of the safety of law abiding citizens and their children!




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Haha

So what did all of you De blasio’s “share the wealth” liberals think was going to happen in the welfare/entitlement city created by this administration of public sector employees? It’s all good until it comes to a neighborhood near you right. The chickens are coming home to roost baby. Now go out and vote to re-elect this guy you losers.




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Joe at the Berkley

-haha This has been an issue well before the Deblasio administratin. At least as old as the buzzwords in your outdated post. Welfare state entitlement liberals.. Hahahaha as fresh and new as Archie Bunker.




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Lester

It is good that it is a family shelter and sex offenders can not be housed with children. If you google “sex offenders in Long Island City” you will see how many are listed at the Borden Avenue Veterans Residence (its alarming). Astoria is now surrounded by homeless shelters (in East Elmhurst and LIC). More are to come from what i read. I do not know what legal stance the city can take about not housing homeless people with a criminal past (non sexual) in a shelter. However, I know that one can not monitor guests and unfortunately Poverty and Crime often go hand in hand.




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ANONYMOUS

The meeting is on January 15 2016 at 10 AM for the Westway Motel hearing on the Westway Motel becoming a permanent shelter. You are invite to speak It is held at 125 Worth Street DhS Department of Homeless Shelter in NYC

PLEASE LET DHS KNOW THAT WIN CAN ONLY PLACE WOMEN IN NEED AND TO NOT PLACE CRIMINALS IN THE SHELTER. CHECK WITH THE 114 PCT IT IS NOT JUST TALK BUT A FACT




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prancer

Good luck! The last thing i need is for my employer or future employer to see my name or picture pop on the news or some blog protesting a homeless shelter for families. And we all know how the media tends to only show those opposed who do not make any sense and are loud and obnoxious, keep that in mind if you attend.




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Joe at the Berkley

-pranced I seem to remember the media showing shelter residents coming off the bus at the old Pan Am hotel holding “go back th China” signs.




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Celeste

Needs to be grassroots effort to push back on the City. They can’t just take advantage of our compassion like this, they have just pushed us too far. And for those of you pulling the race card, stop it, please, that is not even part of the conversation.




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Robin Banks

-Celeste Compassion these hotels aren’t doing this for free they’re doing it and making millions in the process. Are you that naive? Get a clue.. Compassion…




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Charles

I wonder if businesses and schools are as opposed to this transitional housing dump as are residents of the area, this issue directly affects them as well. I am sad and angry about what is happening to my neighborhood, and it is clear de blasio’s cares nothing for our neighborhood. Can we all please stop voting for people that actually impede progress. We should remember all of this when we step into the voting booth. If we don’t, we might as well buy body armor and erect security gates around our homes. Welcome back 1970’s!




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irish lassy -

this is already a done deal doesn’t anyone truly understand this — it is not going to change one bit — it was a done deal with valllone and it is a done deal with your new counselman — wake up nothing is going to change — look at the Verde Hotel in LIC it is now a homeless shelter it was a beautiful hotel now it is a homeless shelter that too was a done deal with the mayor and Jimmy Van Bramer — they have all their meetings but it is a joke — the papers were signed long ago —




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Joe at the Berkley

– Irish lassy You always seem to over look the individuals or firms that are making millions off of these deals…..I guess you’re not one for market principals…you’re a one sided ” Republic-on” phony. Yes let’s vote a Republican into office so he could turn us into a right to work for less state and out law birth control and add 1.1 million low wage and no wage people to the homeless issue per year. That sounds like 2 sound “solutions” that only make things worse. Move to Oklahoma , Arkansas Louisiana or Texas if you like Republican policy so much.. Check out their third world statistics before you come back with some weak uninformed rebuttal .




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Paul

As to those few who approve the shelter, (assuming you are also members of this community) even though I personally disagree with you, I respect your opinion. Democracy means that we all have a voice but the majority decision shall carry. DHS and the City took away our (and your) voice. Don’t you dare ever applaud someone for stripping you of your rights.




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Van

The shelter is for families! Yes, that includes fathers. Not all men who have children and are homeless at this shelter are criminals. Stop spreading ridiculous statements and making this neighborhood look bad.




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Jen

If they didn’t commit crimes I would be ok with them being there. There are a few bad apples in the batch and it ruins it for everyone.




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anon

“UGH people from other neighborhoods with drug problems and criminal records being warehoused in an area i invested my life savings into by buying a home”




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RS

Ditmars Blvd. reminds me and i guess will continue to remind me of my old neighborhood in the South Bronx. Mostly harmless, but still annoying. I am sure the local markets and take out places are very happy.




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staz

Keep voting for Democrats and this will continue throughout our neighborhood! This would of never of happened under Giuliani or Bloomberg. This is the thank you the neighborhood gets for paying high taxes and trying to maintain the homes to keep our neighborhood safe and appealing to the younger working generation.




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BebeDarling

I agree about this not happening if Giuliani was in office. HOWEVER, it’s not like the hipsters have helped the city in anyway. Hipsters are a major cause of the rents going up. They all shack up with about 5 roomates and pay high rents. Also, they have no manners, walk into street poles while texting, and native New Yorkers are forced to leave because they can’t afford the rents anymore. BLAME those hipsters too.




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Dude

The homeless shelter business is big bucks for a few very wealthy owners. I know a couple of the families who own these shelters, and it is insane how our tax money is being used to enrich these private owners. They get more money per room, per night, than nice hotels in midtown charge. Remember Morris Horn, who made a mint running rat-infested shelters back in the ’80s.. And, his son, Shimmie, who was involved in bribery scandal a few years back to win city contracts for these shelters..




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wakler

Why does the City need to pay for capital improvements to a private building? It’s like asking me, a renter, to pay for roof repairs, install fire sprinklers, and replace the boiler. The landlord should pay for that. Instead, the landlord takes an old dilapidated building on the verge of being condemned, offers it to the City as a homeless shelter, knowing that the City will pay to make the major renovations needed to make it habitable. DHS has an annual budget of $1 billion (that’s $1 billion EACH YEAR). If it’s spending that much money to place homeless people in temporary shelters and renovate decrepit shelters, it should renovate and convert them into permanent housing instead! Ah, but then DHS wouldn’t be able to secretly funnel money to political cronies and supporters…




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Joe at the Berkley

-staz Republican Policy keeps people poor The Pew Economic Mobility Project, a non-profit, non-partisan research organization, released a report on May 5,2012, on upward mobility. The 9 Worst States:Alabama, Florida, Kentucky,Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina,Oklahoma,South Carolina,Texas. US census data reveals the 10 poorest states : Mississippi, Arkansas, West Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Montana, Kentucky, Alabama, North Carolina and Louisiana. They all have common denominators. According to Republican rhetoric these states should be the best performing. Every state in these surveys are Republican strong holds for very long periods of time. This is the Republican record. Also According to Forbes Magazine a Republican Contributor Maryland , Connecticut, New Jersey. New Hampshire, Alaska, Massachusetts, Virginia ,Hawaii, Delaware and California10 Richest states by Median Household Income. Republicans don’t seem to fair up here either. Republican policies appear to be working to you? The worst crime in the nation according to FBI statistics are all Republican states of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and South Carolina. The policy of low wages in a country with a progressive income tax system is a recipe for disaster. You will notice the same Republican strong holds have the worst health, lowest wages, worst in education according to Craines, WSJ, Forbes and US Census. Are you embarrassed to be so ignorant? Thanks for Fox stupidity injection to the conversation..




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JJ

As much as I sympathize with the homeless and the need to temporarily house them the lesson i learned from all this as a renter in Astoria and hopefully future home-buyer is do not buy homes near hotels/motels.




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Shirley

The city has an opportunity to do some good!!! Have parenting courses!! Teach them healthy eating and cleaning habits! Give them some responsibilities in the shelter that they can carry on to their homes! Discuss safe sex, money management and good relationships. Teach them job skills!




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Stacie

This Mayor and his administration could care less about this community. Face it, we live in a time where city officials and the media portray people who oppose homeless shelters as heartless, ignorant and xenophobic. And no one outside a shelter neighborhood cares where they house the homeless as long as they are off the streets.




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George

That’s kind of thinking that got this in this community just get an abortion , just put them in a motel . The easy softer way out ..




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Joe at the Berkley

-George The use of low wage non union labor and illegal aliens are a part of the Republican “pro business agenda”. In the past 25 years executives with the help of our own Gov’t have moved millions of jobs over seas (outsourcing), in the name of Global competition. What couldn’t be moved overseas is being filled by illegal aliens and through Visa programs (B1,H1B,L1A,L1B,E1, E2… to name a few) which are constantly being expanded under the pretense of impending “labor shortages”. This “thinking” and practice brought these people here…There are 1.1 million abortions a year so if the practice was outlawed, in 18 years there would be nearly 20 million more low and no income people in our society (yes rich and middle class people will still be able to get abortions and will as history has proven). People like you are the first to cry about the increase in taxes it would take to pay for this whether it was funding to house, feed and educate or incarcerate(products of unwanted pregnancies are the majority of the incarcerated.) You may want to give a little “critical thought” to what you gripe about.




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Astoria Resident

Joes, It’s amusing that you believe that only registered Republicans own businesses and that only poor women have abortions. What color is the sky in your world?




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Ashley

Glad to see this happen, everyone deserves a place to live. I recently volunteered at a shelter in East Elmhurst before Christmas and it’s heartbreaking to see the young kids without a place to live. Also scary to see how easy it is to become homeless, all it really takes is someone to lose their job for a few weeks/months and they can be out on the street.




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ghj

If this was JUST for the homeless, I think the community would be more open to the idea. But the fact that there are felons who can come and go at their own will is what concerns everyone. I am all about giving people second chances but they need to get proper help before hand and I doubt they will get it there!!




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Jeannette Mercado

Thank you Ashley for understanding that homeless families are real people in need of shelter, GOD bless you.




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Anonymous visitor

Absolutely. He is as big a hypocrite as the rest of them. He knew about this and kept quiet. It’s a shame because he claims to have grown up here and that he loves this area. Yeah, right.




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thomas

that’s right! The only time he said or pretended to care when was the media was there last year….Where was he the last couple of months and now? So tired of these politicians trying to be politically correct instead of standing by this community and addressing their needs.




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Robert

By 2019, due to all the new hotel developments in East Elmhurst and the years of not updating this place there is a big possibility the Westway Motel will be sold to the city which will make it permanent.




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