DHS to make shelters at Pan Am and Westway permanent

By Bill Parry

A process is under way in which the city Department of Homeless Services will seek to make emergency shelters at the former Pan American Hotel in Elmhurst, and the Westway Motel in East Elmhurst permanent, officials said. Area residents and political leaders alike were angered this summer when DHS opened the shelters to families with no prior notice to the communities.

“To continue to meet our moral and legal obligation to shelter families with children, all shelters that have opened under the emergency declaration will have to undergo a procurement process,” a DHS spokesman said.

Following the expiration of the emergency contract on Dec. 5, the agency will work with Samaritan Village to seek a long-term contract for the Boulevard Family Center that is housed in the Pan Am Hotel at 79-00 Queens Blvd. DHS will schedule a public hearing as part of the city’s procurement process with notice advertised in the City Record and advanced written notice will be provided to the five borough presidents as well as the City Council and the city comptroller.

Prior to the hearing, a draft proposal of the proposed contract will be available at DHS’s offices for public review. The entire process will be repeated for the Westway shelter at 71-11 Astoria Blvd. this winter.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr‌y@cng‌local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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