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Photo via Google Maps
Photo via Google Maps
A homeless shelter is planned for the former Dallis Brothers coffee factory on Atlantic Avenue in Ozone Park.

Last month, many Ozone Park residents and lawmakers were outraged by a proposal to establish a homeless shelter close to a local high school. This Thursday, they will have a forum to voice their concerns.

This Thursday, Nov. 10, from 6 to 9 p.m., City Councilman Ruben Wills will be joined by Assemblyman Mike Miller and members of Queens Community Board 9 for a community town hall at Richi Rich Palace on 110-19 Atlantic Ave. in Richmond Hill. Community residents are urged to attend and share their thoughts on the proposed shelter.

The shelter in question, proposed by the nonprofit group Breaking Ground and supported by the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), is unpopular among community residents due to the shelter’s suggested site being 250 feet from the High School of Construction, Trades, Engineering and Architecture.

Despite the shelter’s proposed conditions and services marking an improvement from those at shelters throughout the city, residents and representatives are troubled by the lack of transparency in the process.

“Since the beginning of this RFP (Request for Proposal) process the lack of transparency has been disturbing,” Miller added.  “Breaking Ground has said they would not screen for sex offenders during a meeting at Borough Hall”.

Under New York State law, it is illegal for certain restricted sex offenders to live close to a school. Despite this, the DHS was found to have unlawfully housed sex offenders at the Skyway’s Men’s Shelter in South Ozone Park, which is close to a school.

“Much has been rumored about the conditions under which such a facility would operate were it to open, and the need for definitive information is paramount,” said Wills.

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