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.