By Mark Hallum
Lawmakers in Queens are speaking out against a new shelter that may possibly be slated for Glendale that will accommodate 200 single men in one location.
City Councilman Robert Holden (D-Middle Village) said he would mobilize the communities in his district against the shelter as he has done in the past to oppose what he sees as an inappropriate location for the possible facility, which would be at 78-16 Cooper Ave.
Before being elected to City Council in 2017, Holden was a prominent figure in the opposition to the Maspeth Holiday Inn homeless shelter throughout 2016 as the president of the Juniper Park Civic Association.
“After speaking to DHS Commissioner Steven Banks on Friday morning and on Friday night, and with Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday, I relayed that area residents would in no way accept a large out-of-character homeless shelter at the proposed location,” Holden said. “Rest assured. I will do everything in my power to defeat this senseless and inappropriate proposal to place a men’s homeless shelter in Glendale… I have fought against this location in the past and will continue to do so. This is unacceptable.”
Holden criticized de Blasio’s Turning the Tide on Homelessness initiative, which aims to address the more than 60,000 people with no place to live in the city by placing a shelter in every community board district. He also said the public engagement period on proposed shelters lack transparency.
State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), who just weeks ago spoke out against an all men’s shelter at 101-41 91st St. in Ozone Park proposal for 113 individuals, also said the de Blasio administration was acting with a lack of transparency in regard to the Glendale shelter.
“Here we are again, fighting the mayor’s office on yet another ill-conceived homeless shelter plan in our community. After we thought that the Cooper Avenue site was off the table, the Department of Homeless Services has now apparently brought it back into the discussion and looks to be headed towards trying to open a shelter there,” Addabbo said. “I stand with my constituents and am appalled at the mayor’s complete lack of transparency, not just with the Cooper Avenue site, but also with many sites across Queens — including the Ozone Park shelter proposal. I will make it clear that the mayor cannot just come into our neighborhoods and plop homeless shelters in inadequate locations and with little to no services to help the homeless transition out of these shelters.
“This fight has just begun,” he said.
But the city Department of Homeless Services argued they had never claimed the plan for a shelter was “was off the table” and that they “currently have no proposal for this site.”
The background provided by DHS further stated that “We provide notification to communities when a viable proposal from a not-for-profit service provider has been fully evaluated—and communities will be the first to know as locations are identified for use as shelter.”
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall