You are reading

State Sen. passes bill requiring Homeless Services to notify public before installing shelters

panam

May 29, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge

The State Senate is attempting to change the way homeless shelters are installed in New York City, a process that many in the Queens community believe has been significantly abused over the past year.

On Wednesday, the Senate passed legislation that would require supportive housing facilities or social service centers, including homeless shelters, to notify local community boards and the City Planning Commission of a planned site.

CPC would then approve, modify or deny the shelter, or suggest an alternative location, according to the legislative text.

Possible shelters would then be reviewed by the City Comptroller, as they already do, according to State Sen. Jose Peralta, who co-sponsored the bill.

“We would slow the process down, so there can be more community input,” Peralta said.

According to the Senator, this legislation would also impact the establishment of emergency shelters, which the City Department of Homeless Services used last year to quietly install long term facilities at Elmhurst’s former Pan Am hotel and East Elmhurst’s former Westway Motel, inspiring substantial outrage from western Queens residents and elected officials.

The legislation requires Homeless Services to report to the community even when it establishes emergency shelters. “Currently what happens now: there’s an emergency situation, they hide behind [that],” Peralta said.

Earlier this month, City Comptroller Scott Stringer rejected a proposed contract with shelter provider Samaritan Village to make Pan Am a permanent facility, sending it back to the Mayor for further review.

Peralta said he would expect much of the public comment necessitated by this bill to involve pushback against the planned facilities.

“No one, no community, will immediately jump up and say, ‘yes in my backyard,” Peralta said. “This is more for creating transparency.”

“You would give the community the opportunity to express themselves, and some of the issues can be dealt with,” he continued.

The Department of Homeless Services did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

The bill has been introduced in the State Assembly and has yet to come up for a vote.

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Corona man criminally charged with sex trafficking for forcing Mexican woman into prostitution: DA

A Corona man has been indicted on sex trafficking charges for allegedly forcing a Mexican woman to engage in prostitution over a three-year period, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Wednesday.

Galindo Capultitla, 39, of 40th Road, was arraigned Tuesday before Queens Supreme Court Justice Peter Vallone Jr. on a seven-count indictment charging him with three counts of sex trafficking and other crimes for forcing the victim to engage in sex for money in Mexico and the United States, including in Queens. During the victim’s three-year ordeal, Capultitla allegedly hit and choked her—and even threatened to kill her family in Mexico—if she failed to hand over the money gained through sex.

Dozens of people, believed to be migrants, found living in cramped Queens cellar

Mayor Eric Adams confirmed that dozens of people, believed to be migrants, were found living illegally inside a commercial business in South Richmond Hill on Monday afternoon.

The cellar dwellers were discovered inside an illegal conversion of a 2-story, mixed-use building on Liberty Avenue in South Richmond Hill, according to the city’s Department of Buildings. DOB Inspectors were called to the scene at 132-03 Liberty Ave. by FDNY first responders after fire prevention inspectors acting on a tip found the people living in cramped and illegal conditions.

Woman sought for slashing cabbie during a robbery near LaGuardia Airport: NYPD

Police are searching for a woman who attacked a cab driver in East Elmhurst during a robbery more than two weeks ago.

The incident occurred in the early morning hours of Sunday, Feb. 11 after the cabbie picked up the suspect in Manhattan. The driver told investigators that the woman initially wanted to be taken to LaGuardia Airport but instead decided to be dropped off  nearby in front of 89-00 23rd Ave. at around 2 a.m.