City to give notice before opening new homeless shelters

Lack of advance word has sparked angry confrontations in recent weeks

TRD New York /
July 31, 2014 12:30 PM

The Department of Homeless Services has vowed to give communities and elected officials one week’s notice before opening new homeless shelters. The announcement comes in the wake of a series of confrontations over shelters in Queens and harsh criticism from New York City comptroller Scott Stringer.

Shelter residents and long-time community members clashed after the DHS began moving families into the Pan American Hotel on Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst in June without advanced notice. Another unannounced shelter opening at the Westway Motel on Astoria Boulevard sparked opposition one month later.

“Time and time again, I have seen communities that were traditionally welcoming of shelter facilities and supportive housing react negatively to a rushed DHS placement due to a failure to consider either legitimate potential neighborhood impacts or the health of the families the residences are intended to support,” Stringer said in a letter to DHS cited by the Queens TimesLedger.

After receiving the letter, DHS commissioner Gilbert Taylor said the department would give communities seven days’ notice, according to the paper.

However, State Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, who represents Astoria, said that time frame is inadequate.

“Seven days’ notice to open up any kind of shelter that would affect the community is woefully inadequate, in my opinion,” Simotas told the paper. [TimesLedger]Tom DiChristopher

Related Article


Amazon mulls new grocery chain, Douglas Elliman’s new marketing boss: Daily digest

Comptroller Scott Stringer (Credit: Getty Images)

Stringer sounds the alarm on the housing affordability crisis in new report

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher's Randy Mastro (Credit: Getty Images)

Billionaires’ Row NIMBYs lean on Cuomo to stop shelter

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner Steven Banks and 127-03 20th Avenue (Credit: Getty Images and Google Maps)

Critics sue to block College Point homeless shelter