Religious nonprofit seeks to evict Astoria tenants to make way for homeless shelter

Residents told to leave even though city says conversion plans were abandoned
December 12, 2016 04:45PM

New York School of Urban Ministry at 31-65 46th street

New York School of Urban Ministry at 31-65 46th street

As Jesus once said, “Location, location, location.”

A Queens-based Christian nonprofit is evicting tenants from its building in Astoria, as part of a plan to convert the property into a homeless shelter, the New York Daily News reported.

The New York School of Urban Ministry sent letters to tenants at its building at 31-65 46th Street last month, informing them they must leave by the end of December or “summary proceedings will be commenced.” The organization wants to turn the three-story, 39-unit building into a homeless shelter as early as next month, according to the newspaper.

But even though the group has officially asked the tenants to leave, the city said all plans to use the site as a shelter were abandoned when they realized there are long-term tenants living in the building.

“We’re absolutely, positively not using this place,” Department of Homeless Services spokesperson David Neustadt told the paper.

A lawyer for the group — which trains ministers and runs missions — said the termination date was extended to Jan. 31 and that the group is helping the tenants relocate.

The tenants have contacted Queens Senator Mike Gianaris for support. He told the paper it is illegal to mislead people into leaving their homes, and that the owner “needs to back off.” [NYDN]Miriam Hall