In just a few short months, the former Pan American Hotel on Queens Boulevard has gone from potential homeless shelter, to hostel in the works, to functioning homeless shelter – and some residents of Maspeth and Elmhurst are not pleased.
On Monday, Rosemarie Daraio, president of the Comet Civic Association, posted a call to arms on the organization’s community website, imploring residents to attend a protest against the homeless shelter, which opened last week. The announcement reported that 36 families had moved into the former hotel, according to Brownstoner Queens.
The Pan American closed for good in January, despite management saying it was merely undergoing renovations, as DNAinfo reported at the time. Rumors soon began to swirl that a homeless shelter would occupy the space, but the rumors appeared debunked when the Queens Crap blog spotted a website touting a new hostel at the site.
In a statement, City Council Member Daniel Dromm said he was not made aware of the move until it was under way on Friday. Dromm opposes the shelter, saying “Elmhurst has already had to bear a huge burden of services for the less fortunate … The hotel has 216 rooms. I believe it is bad policy to bring that many needy people into one place.” [Brownstoner] — Tom DiChristopher