Rego Park residents rally against proposed men’s homeless shelter

Rego Park
Rego Park residents organized a march and rally on Sunday, Feb. 18, aiming to block the city’s plans to open a shelter in the neighborhood.
Photo courtesy of the East Elmhurst Corona Alliance

Rego Park residents outraged over another proposed men’s homeless shelter in their neighborhood took to the streets on Sunday, Feb. 18, in a march and rally to oppose the city’s plans. 

The proposed single men’s homeless shelter site is located at the Rego Park Wyndham Garden Hotel at 61-18 93rd St., only one mile away from another shelter in the neighborhood, residents say. 

Civic group leaders and residents hope to thwart the expected 100 homeless men from entering the neighborhood through their collective efforts. Rego Park United and the East Elmhurst Corona Alliance joined together with residents and district leaders to express their opposition of the site. 

“We are fed up,” said Byron Lopez from Rego Park United. “I have daughters who live here in this community. We must fight against this, and we will. We have spoken to hundreds of residents who had no idea about this. We are angry and we oppose it.” 

Opposition of a homeless shelter at the Wyndham Garden Hotel, located at 61-18 93rd Street. Residents hold up signs that express their outrage. Photo courtesy of the East Elmhurst Corona Alliance

An East Elmhurst Corona Alliance spokesperson mirrored the sentiments shared about the safety of children nearby. 

“As a mother of two daughters that go to local public schools, I am in fear of who will be residing at this homeless shelter,” said Ileana Martinez of the East Elmhurst Corona Alliance. “How about the safety of the children? Where is the political leadership warning the community residents? This must stop!” 

Rego Park residents frustrated over a proposed shelter in their neighborhood come together to oppose the site. Photo courtesy of the East Elmhurst Corona Alliance

District leaders for Forest Hills and Rego Park also joined residents’ calls for the city to stop the shelter and questioned why Rego Park seems to be the crucible for city shelters. 

“Who thought that this was wise? The community is united and is saying, NO to our tax dollars being used to the detriment of our community!” said District Leader Hiram Monserrate. 

Community Board 6 members, representing Forest Hills and Rego Park, voiced concerns about the shelter earlier this month, after discovering the hotel would be transformed into a homeless shelter by the Department of Social Services in October 2023

DSS says it intends to alleviate the pressures of the homeless crisis with the addition of shelters for vulnerable individuals, especially in areas where no shelters are available, a spokesperson specified with QNS. 

The homeless shelter is supposed to open near the end of March.