Shelter for homeless men in Rockaway Park remains on hold following court ruling

Courtesy of Torey Schnupp

A controversial shelter for single adult men, which was scheduled to open next month in Rockaway Park, will remain shuttered after a state Supreme Court justice extended a temporary restraining order against further construction at the facility.

Attorney Mike Scala, representing the community, was opposed by city lawyers representing the Department of Homeless Services and counsel for the service provider at Queens Supreme Court in Jamaica.

“We had the second hearing in the case and the court is now considering whether s preliminary injunction should be issues, which would keep operations ceased through the duration of the case,” Scala said. “Hopefully we will have a final decision in the next two weeks.”

In the meantime the facility, located at 226 Beach 101st St., should remain locked up and construction workers should not be entering it.

(Courtesy of Torey Schnupp)

“We presented evidence of multiple violations of the temporary restraining order that was issued on Jan. 17,” Scala said.

The attorney has raised multiple legal issues during the proceedings including that DHS’ environmental review was improper, that the 108 bed shelter would constitute a residence for the mentally disabled in violation of state law which has a cap of 48 individuals and he argued there was evidence of financial impropriety with the not-for-profit service provider.

QNS reached out to DHS and is awaiting a response. Meanwhile, Torey Schnupp, the lead petitioner in the case and activist behind the group Rockaway Solutions Not Shelters, has stated Rockaway is not the place for such a shelter as many in the community are still recovering from Sandy.

“When you see a neighborhood trying to recover, and still recover, the last thing you want to do is put an at-risk population in such a narrow piece of land,” she told NY1. “The Rockaway community, we united to stop this from happening. We don’t have to take what the city wants to dish on everybody.”

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