The city seems to have heard the message shouted by Queens residents last month at a Bellerose motel that houses homeless families.
State Senator Tony Avella, Councilman Barry Grodenchik and Assembly members David Weprin and Michaelle Solages announced on Friday that the Department of Homeless Services has agreed to stop using two Bellerose hotels as homeless shelters.
The Bellerose Inn at 249-05 Jericho Tpke. and the Quality Inn at 256-15 Jericho Tpke., both owned by Harshad Patel, will resume normal hotel operations in 60 days, according to the elected officials.
Hundreds of Queens residents gathered outside of the Bellerose Inn last month to protest the city’s “warehousing” of homeless families in that location. They also gathered outside of Patel’s home in Glen Oaks.
Protestors argued that the city’s practice of throwing families into hotels was unfair and only benefited hotel owners who charge exorbitant prices per room.
“It is unconscionable that they would just throw homeless families in crappy hotel rooms,” protester Nancy Houlton previously told QNS. “There’s no plan to get them good housing, just throw them in a hotel and pretend everything is okay.”
The Queens/Nassau Joint Task Force was joined by the Maspeth Middle Village Task Force and Juniper Park Civic Association to express their frustration with city policy. Maspeth is also trying to fight the city’s proposal to convert a Holiday Inn into a homeless shelter.
“It is refreshing to know that Mr. Patel followed through on his commitment to us to no longer use these two hotels to house the homeless,” Avella said. “Now that we have confirmed that the city will comply with his wishes, we have to work towards finding a more permanent solution to help these families.”
Weprin argued that hotels are inadequate locations for homeless families considering the city mandates that each family have access to a living space with a kitchen.
“I thank Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Steven Banks for recognizing this reality and communicating a clear plan for the future of these temporary shelters in eastern Queens,” Weprin said.