The mayor’s office dropped plans to convert a 110-room Maspeth hotel into a homeless shelter after intense community opposition, city officials said.
Instead, the city will rent 30 rooms to house employed homeless men, while the Holiday Inn Express at 59-40 55th Road continues to operate as a hotel, New York Daily News reported.
“Due to local opposition to housing homeless New Yorkers, we have not been able to convert this site into a full shelter at this time,” Lauren Gray, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeless Services said.
The owner, Harshad Patel, who also owns a Quality Inn in Jamaica that’s been converted to a shelter, told the Daily News he pulled out of a contract with the city for a 110-bed shelter in response to community opposition.
The plans for the shelter were vehemently protested by both community members and elected officials. One Queens council member even sued Bill de Blasio’s administration over it. Many are not satisfied with the decision and plan to continue the protest.
The shelter population has recently hit 60,000 by the city’s count, and the number of homeless being housed in hotels has doubled since July, according to the New York Post. This despite the fact that Mayor Bill de Blasio promised in February to limit the use of hotels for that purpose. [NYDN] — Chava Gourarie