After three denials, Stringer approves permanent contract for Elmhurst shelter

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City Comptroller Scott Stringer gave his approval Friday to a contract that makes the temporary homeless shelter at the former Pan American Hotel in Elmhurst permanent.

The latest contract for the shelter, located at 79-00 Queens Blvd., was submitted on Jan. 6 for a two-year, $23,870,000 deal ending on June 17. According to a spokesperson for Stringer, this contract is contingent on an agreement by Samaritan Daytop Village Inc. to clear open violations.

Stringer has repeatedly said the emergency homeless shelter must address outstanding violations before he can accept any proposal for a permanent contract. He denied the contract last May, July and September.

“The Department of Homeless Services has provided the comptroller’s office with the required documentation that health and safety violations have been cured or that there are plans in place to address those violations at the family shelter located at the Pan American Hotel,” spokesperson Eric Sumberg said in a statement.

According to officials, the contract is currently only registered through June 30, 2016. After this date, the Department of Homeless Services will conduct a performance review to decide if the contract should be extended for the full two years.

Samaritan Daytop Village Inc. also plans to turn Pan Am into a Tier II shelter and will have to provide construction plans for kitchens in each unit, a playground and an outdoor recreation area, officials said.

The old hotel was turned into a temporary homeless shelter in June 2014, and residents and local elected officials were not informed of the change.

The site has suffered from vermin infestation and has been cited for a number of health and safety and fire code violations. Elmhurst residents and politicians have staged several rallies calling on Stringer to deny previous contracts.

Grassroots organization Elmhurst United has argued that approving the contract would further burden School District 24, the most overcrowded in the city, and that its numerous outstanding violations make it uninhabitable.

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