East Elmhurst community members rally to call for shutdown of local migrant shelter

Photo courtesy of East Elmhurst Corona Alliance

The East Elmhurst Corona Alliance and Ditmars Blvd. Block Association partnered to hold a rally calling for the closure of an East Elmhurst migrant shelter on June 7.

Formerly the Courtyard Marriott at 90-10 Ditmars Blvd., the building now serves as a migrant shelter and is cited as a major contributor to a decline in the quality of life in the East Elmhurst community. Issues attributed to its presence include increased robberies, vandalism, prostitution, unlicensed vendors, public intoxication, and a surge in unlicensed motorbikes.

An incident on June 3 involving the shooting of two police officers that occurred just a block away involved a former shelter resident who was recently kicked out, prompting the community to gather and call upon the NYC Department of Homeless Services to take action.

Photo courtesy of the East Elmhurst Corona Alliance

Ditmars Blvd. Block Association President and Queens Community Board 3 Chairman Frank Taylor, along with District Leader Hiram Monserrate, sent a letter on the community’s behalf to the NYC Department of Homeless Services calling for the closure of this shelter. They pointed out that there are already 15 other shelters between Queens Boulevard and LaGuardia Airport.

The letter sent out to the NYC Department of Homeless Services by Taylor and Monserrate called for the Courtyard Marriott migrant homeless shelter to be shut down. Photo courtesy of the East Elmhurst Corona Alliance

“Our community has been over-saturated with homeless shelters for far too long,” Monserrate said. “This has been a total failure at all levels of government. Queens has more homeless shelters than any other borough. The recent shooting of our police officers is a flashpoint. Time for action. Our hardworking community deserves better.”

Taylor and Monserrate noted that when the shelter was originally established, the East Elmhurst community welcomed it with open arms, donating food, clothing, and school supplies to those who resided there. However, the recent surge in crime has caused many in the community to grow increasingly disillusioned with the shelter.

Unlicensed motorbikes have become a big issue in the East Elmhurst community since the migrant shelter opened. Photo courtesy of the East Elmhurst Corona Alliance

“Enough is enough! Time to start shutting some of them down, starting with this one! Our community has suffered, we are taxpayers and homeowners and we have been totally disrespected and taken for granted,” Taylor said.