Queens representatives are crying foul after the Department of Homeless Services established a permanent shelter on the border of Astoria and East Elmhurst without notifying elected officials or communities.
Congressman Joseph Crowley, City Council member Costa Constantinides, New York State Senator Jose Peralta and Assembly member Aravella Simotas wrote to the DHS commissioner to express concern over the recently opened shelter at 71-11 Astoria Boulevard, Brownstoner Queens reported. DHS approved the permanent use of the former Westway Motel as a shelter for homeless families earlier this month, according to the website.
“While we appreciate that DHS is legally required to provide shelter for the homeless, the agency’s failure to provide any notification to the people currently living in the area who are impacted by its implementation is unacceptable,” Brownstoner quoted from the letter.
Community opposition forced DHS to shelve plans to turn the Westway into a shelter in 2012, as the New York Daily News previously reported. The agency recently upset Elmhurst and Maspeth residents by opening another shelter at the former Pan American hotel last month, also with no notice. [Brownstoner] — Tom DiChristopher