Maspeth shelter opponents organize another rally outside of commissioner’s Brooklyn home

Photo by Anthony Giudice/QNS

As the owner of the Holiday Inn Express-turned-homeless-shelter in Maspeth is facing a lawsuit that could put an end to the shelter, the Maspeth/Middle Village Task Force will be holding a press conference in front of Department of Social Services’ (DSS) head Steven Banks’ Brooklyn home.

Joining the members of the Maspeth/Middle Village Task Force in their march on Saturday, Dec. 3 will be a coalition of community groups and residents from South Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, Rockaway, Elmhurst, Woodside, Long Island City, Bellerose, Sunset Park, as well as shelter residents from Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.

The Maspeth community has been an outspoken opponent of the hotel on the fringes of the neighborhood’s industrial sector being converted into a homeless shelter since it was announced in August. Since that time, there have been nightly protests outside of the hotel and numerous marches and rallies, including a protest outside of Banks’ home in September.

The marchers will be calling on Banks to implement real changes to help address the city’s homelessness crisis, which sees approximately 60,000 New Yorkers on the streets every single night, or hand in his resignation as commissioner of the DSS.

“We want Mr. Banks to take real steps toward alleviating the homeless problem, including construction of affordable housing on unused city owned land, in order to end the warehousing of homeless people in hotels, which is detrimental to them and the surrounding communities,” the group said in a press release. “If he is unable or unwilling to do so, then he must resign.”

For anyone in the Maspeth area that wishes to attend the march, buses will be leaving the Holiday Inn Express located at 59-40 55th Rd. promptly at 1 p.m. to head to 48 Sherman St. Windsor Terrace for the rally/press conference at 2 p.m. The buses are scheduled to return to Maspeth at 4 p.m.

For more information, call Robert Holden at 917-776-7609, or email maspethmvtaskforce[@]gmail.com.