Local elected officials are taking the fight against the proposed Maspeth homeless shelter to court.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley was joined by state Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assemblywoman Margaret Markey in filing a lawsuit in Queens Supreme Court against the City of New York, declaring that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration is in violation of the city’s administrative code with its plan to convert the Holiday Inn Express, located at 59-40 55th Rd., into a homeless shelter for adult families.
After reviewing the official proposal, elected officials found it to be “shortsighted, fiscally irresponsible and completely inadequate for not only the homeless population but for the Maspeth community,” Crowley said in a statement.
“The mayor himself, as well as Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Steven Banks, has said converting hotels into homeless shelters is an unacceptable solution to the city’s homelessness crisis. Yet time and time again, we hear of the city moving more people into hotels and motels,” Crowley added. “Hotel conversions should not be used to create shelter capacity, while phasing out the use of legal cluster site shelters, in which families are housed in apartments, in privately owned buildings, with kitchens and other home appliances. Letting these sites go is irresponsible and negligible.”
The lawsuit seeks to uphold Administrative Code § 21-309(a)(2) which requires that units housing homeless families must be equipped with cooking facilities. It has been noted that the hotel rooms at the Holiday Inn Express do not contain stoves or other amenities that would constitute cooking facilities.
“I have continued to stand behind the idea that hotels are not the proper venue for shelters and offer almost no long-term assistance to homeless families who need help to get back on their feet,” Addabbo said. “I remain firmly opposed to the shelter proposal for Maspeth and will strongly support this and any other credible plan that aims to stop this inadequate proposal from moving forward.”
Maspeth residents have been looking for their elected officials to stand up for them in this fight against the homeless shelter. Crowley was slated to formally announce the lawsuit during the Community Board 5 (CB 5) meeting on the homeless shelter on Wednesday night, Aug. 31, at the Knockdown Center in Maspeth.
“This proposal is wrong for Maspeth; it is wrong for the city of New York; and it is wrong for the homeless families the city says it is trying to help,” Markey said. “Mayor de Blasio has insisted that using hotels is a bad solution to the problem of homelessness and he was seeking to avoid it. Instead, however, his administration has opened several new shelters in hotels this year and brought this proposal to Maspeth. Our lawsuit is a reminder that this policy is wrong, it violates the mayor’s own policies and city regulations, and we stand firmly against it.”
QNS will have a story online Thursday about the Board 5 meeting.