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Men’s homeless shelter source of concern

The men’s-only homeless shelter was a source of concern at the most recent 106th Precinct Community Council meeting.

The center, at 132-10 South Conduit Avenue in South Ozone Park, was changed in early February from a family shelter – 276 people – to one that houses only men – 176 residents, some of which are registered sex offenders.

The 106th has addressed the issue by writing summonses when necessary, placing an officer on patrol during school dismissal and by establishing trespass permits for area gas stations. They will disseminate any information they receive on sex offenders to local schools and community associations, they said.

The shelter itself, said Community Board 10 chair Betty Braton, has also broadened its security perimeter.

“It’s not illegal to be homeless,” said Community Affairs officer Kenneth Zorn. “We won’t take action unless they are committing a crime.”

Other issues raised included residents complaining about the 106th prostitution sting on 115th Street between Rockaway and Linden Boulevards.

“There are no prostitutes, no johns, no drugs,” said a resident. “We raise our children in this neighborhood.”

But Commanding Officer Captain Thomas Pascale said, “We do a lot of investigations and this is the first time we’ve gotten a complaint.”

Pascale, in reference to others’ questions of disorderly conduct, urged residents to call 9-1-1.

“When you have suspicious activity, especially on your property, call 9-1-1,” he said.

He also said there have been no arrests made in connection with the recent finding of a noose near Lindenwood’s P.S. 232.

“The NYPD does not tolerate this and Hate Crimes is investigating,” said Pascale.

The bottom line, said Precinct Council president Frank Dardani, is that “we need more police officers on the streets, not canceled [Police Academy] classes. We should be angry, should send letters and emails. This police force has been dwindled down to nothing. They do the best they can with what they have.”

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