Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan is keeping the conversation alive surrounding a proposed homeless shelter at P.S. 9 on 57th Street in Maspeth despite the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) need to go through a Uniform Land Use Review Process to place residents at the property.
Councilman Robert Holden has been in talks with DHS Commissioner Steve Banks who has said he is looking at site with Community Board 5, but P.S. 9 at 58-74 57th St. in Maspeth was only briefly considered.
Nolan and Assemblyman Brian Barnwell issued a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio demanding to be included in talks regarding homeless shelters in their communities.
“We are opposed to any additional shelters in our communities. We oppose converting P9 into a shelter; a school building is not an appropriate location to place homeless individuals,” the letter said. “School District 24 is one of the most overcrowded school districts in the city; we need more schools, not fewer.”
A ULURP application to turn P.S. 9 into a homeless shelter if the city Department of Education were to walk away from it would likely take up to a year, although there is no evidence that DHS has proposal for the site.
Holden said in an October Juniper Park Civic Association meeting he is working with the School Construction Authority to turn the building at 78-16 Cooper Ave. into a school and CEC 24 backed the initiative in a set of resolutions last week.
While P.S. 9 may have been in consideration to be turned into a shelter, Holden was in favor of the DOE moving the students from the building which is in a mainly industrial zone.
The facility, built around the turn of the century is aging considerably and does not have ADA accessibility for the students who battle with conditions such as autism and Down syndrome.
The letter stated the communities of Community Boards 1, 2 and 5 “have no ability to absorb homeless populations.”