Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan said that rumors about a new homeless shelter in Maspeth have been confirmed to her office from an unknown source.
Nolan told QNS on Friday afternoon that the shelter could be placed at P.S. 9 on 57th Street — but other activists and politicians are holding their tongues. The assemblywoman also declined to disclose the identity of the source.
Although city officials have yet to confirm this, Nolan worries the de Blasio administration could act fast to divert students – many of whom are bused in – and place “hundreds” of homeless people in the building.
“I don’t want to see a homeless shelter on 57th Street. It’s an absolutely terrible location,” Nolan said. “The city hasn’t [followed through] on anything they said and we have homeless people in all the hotels in Long Island City on a small rotating basis. How many more area we going to take? I want to work with Councilman Holden, Assemblymen Barnwell and Miller … and I’m hoping we can all work together.”
In Maspeth, 57th Street only runs for about a block and a half between Flushing and Grand Avenues and is mostly lined with warehouses, about five row-houses as well as P.S. 9.
“When the city moves, it moves very quickly, and I don’t want to wake up next week and find beds in P.S. 9,” Nolan continued.
Nolan also spoke of concern about a potential shelter at Summerfield Street and Wyckoff Avenue in Ridgewood.
The city Department of Homeless Services has yet to respond to a request for comment from QNS.
A spokesman from state Senator Joseph Addabbo could not confirm the rumors but said their office is looking into the matter.
Tony Nunziato, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association and a Maspeth business owner, said that he is also looking into the validity of the rumors.
Nunziato was a leader with the Maspeth Middle Village Task Force which organized nightly shelter protests against the Holiday Inn on 55th Road which was slated to accommodate over 200 families in 2016 and 2017. Nunziato ran in the 2016 election as a Republican against now-Assemblyman Brian Barnwell, who had just unseated longtime incumbent Margaret Markey in that year’s Democratic primary.
The protests against hotel conversions into shelters to combat the homelessness crisis in 2016 set the tone of conversation between the city officials and residents who opposed the rise of shelters and was a point of contention in both election seasons that followed.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Turning of the Tide on Homelessness aims to place a shelter in every community board district in the city. However, many argue that some neighborhoods and boards have more than their share.
In Blissville, a five-block industrial section of Long Island City, residents are now outnumbered by about 500 homeless residents who fill three shelters converted from hotels.