Maspeth residents can celebrate this victory, but the war still wages.
After holding phone conversations with both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Steve Banks, Department of Homeless Services (DHS) commissioner, on Sept. 6 and 7, Markey reported that the city has agreed to not move forward with the original opening date of Oct. 1 for the proposed shelter, and will continue to evaluate the plan and the program for location.
“This postponement gives us the opportunity to continue to bring pressure on the city to change its plan for Maspeth,” Markey said. “With [the] Community Board 5 (CB 5) review still underway, we still have not seen answers to our continuing concerns about the location of the facility, the track record of the proposed provider and details about the financial arrangement between the city, Acacia Network and the hotel owner.”
Shortly after the shelter proposal was made in early August, Markey reached out to City Comptroller Scott Stringer to aide her in examining the proposal. Stringer then met with Markey, other elected officials and local civic leaders where he explained that he is responsible for reviewing the contract for any facility once it is submitted. As of today, Markey announced, Stringer has yet to receive a contract for the proposed shelter at the Holiday Inn.
In an attempt to stymie the homeless shelter from opening, local elected officials including Markey, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and state Senator Joseph Addabbo filed a lawsuit against the city on Aug. 31, claiming de Blasio’s administration is in violation of the city’s administrative code regarding the available amenities of the proposed homeless shelter. It is required by law that the homeless are housed in facilities that provide proper cooking facilities, which the rooms at the Holiday Inn do not have.