De Blasio talks about housing the homeless at Corona town hall

Mayor Bill de Blasio responds to a question while Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland sits behind him at Wednesday’s town hall.
Photo by Michael Shain
By Patrick Donachie

Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged that the city was working to stop housing homeless individuals in two hotels in the Corona area during a town hall held Wednesday evening at IS 61 in Corona.

The town hall, which was moderated by City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D-Corona), touched on a wide variety of topics and challenges, including school segregation, domestic violence protection, and consistent anxieties about President Donald Trump’s potential impact on Queens’ immigrant populations. The event was held before a crowd of hundreds in the school’s gymnasium.

De Blasio said he had been buoyed by the events in Washington that unfolded during the past week, when Republicans in Congress as well as Trump failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Barack Obama.

“I’m very happy to say we got a better answer than we expected,” de Blasio said, noting that two million New Yorkers had been insured due to the ACA. “The world is a better world than a week ago, because there was a full court press to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and they couldn’t get the votes.”

De Blasio also detailed his long-term plans regarding city homelessness, stressing a desire to ensure that homeless individuals were not placed far from their original residencies or communities.

“While anyone is homeless, we want to make sure they’re supported in their own borough and as close to their own community as possible,” he said.

However, he said that there was more capacity than necessary in the community district where the town hall was held, which would help the city transfer the homeless individuals living in the hotels into other spaces.

Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdonachie@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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