Aug. 23, 2015 Staff Report
Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to open a homeless shelter at the Clarion Hotel in East Elmhurst Monday, reports the Daily News.
The announcement comes just two months after the Department of Homeless Services told the JacksonHeightsPost that it was not eyeing up the 94-00 Ditmars Blvd site despite strong rumors that it was.
“We currently have no plans to use the site,” a DHS spokesman said in a statement in June.
Elected leaders were also concerned about the rumors in June, with State Sen. Jose Peralta saying at the time that he hoped that the DHS would stick to its word and would not open a shelter at the hotel site.
“It is my hope that the Department of Homeless Services is not planning to open a homeless shelter at the former Clarion Hotel LaGuardia Airport,” Peralta said in a statement in June.
Despite widespread concerns, de Blasio told the Daily News that the shelter is expected to open Monday with 169 units. De Blasio told the paper that it would help ensure that there was housing for those in need.
The Clarion Hotel will be located about 2 miles away from the Westway Motor Inn, located at 71-11 Astoria Blvd.
The Westway shelter caused a great deal of controversy when it was converted from an overnight shelter into a long term shelter without community notification last year.
Meanwhile, several community activists continue their opposition against DHS’s plan to convert the Pan Am Hotel at 79-00 Queens Blvd into a permanent shelter.