Acacia Network, the service provider that plans to operate a homeless shelter at the Holiday Inn Express in Maspeth on the city’s behalf, has a history of violent incidents at their other shelters across the city.
The Bronx-based organization is responsible for security at their sites, but reports over the last few years have shown that they have been lax in their duties to protect the residents of their shelters.
In November 2015, state Senator Ruben Diaz released a letter highlighting the lack of security measures at a homeless shelter located at 941 Intervale Ave. in the Bronx, which is run by Acacia Network, after one of the female residents was stabbed by another shelter resident.
According to Diaz’s letter, the offender was caught on tape breaking the shelter’s security cameras the weekend before the attack took place. No one at Acacia viewed security footage to notice that the cameras had been destroyed until the following Monday, leaving residents in quite the predicament without working security cameras.
Another Acacia Network-run homeless shelter, this one located in Long Island City, made the news earlier in the year for a pair of violent incidents.
In February, Pam’s Settlement, a women’s homeless shelter that opened in the former Verve Hotel, located at 40-03 29th St., was the scene of two incidents that left several of the shelter’s residents, as well as police officers, injured.
Police were called to the shelter site on Feb. 11 to deal with a dispute among residents in which one woman struck her roommate with a metal object and headbutted an officer. Officers returned to Pam’s Settlement the following day when a resident broke the shelter’s metal detector and threw chairs and soda cans across the lobby.
The 114th Precinct reported responding to calls of residents trying to hurt themselves and a chronic 911 call from someone who has repeatedly reported that a woman was stabbed inside the shelter.
There have also been complaints of women from the shelter harassing store owners in the area.
According to a source, Acacia Network said at a Aug. 3 meeting they are committed to a “robust security plan” at the proposed Holiday Inn Express location by providing full-time, on-site security staff, and would work closely with the 104th Precinct on matters off-site.
Residents of Maspeth who are concerned about the proposed homeless shelter can voice their opinions at the town hall meeting set up by Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET) on Thursday, Aug. 11, at Martin Luther High School, located at 60-02 Maspeth Ave., at 7:30 p.m.
Representatives from Acacia Network will be at the community meeting “to answer questions and provide more information about the site,” they said in an email.