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Families at a homeless shelter in Long Island City were abruptly moved out to make room for homeless single men.

A hotel used to temporarily house homeless families in Long Island City was quickly converted to a shelter for homeless men to the surprise of the 54 families living there last month.

The City View Inn, located at 33-17 Greenpoint Ave., began admitting families last July. In a meeting with the Department Homeless Services (DHS) officials and Sunnyside residents last October, community leaders expressed frustration with the notification process when the city revealed they had given 24 hours notice to elected officials about their plan.

According to Community Board 2 Chairperson Denise Keehan-Smith, DHS did not notify the advisory body about the change, which officially occurred on Jan. 19. She heard about it from a news report after the switch had been made.

“CB 2 was not notified of the change,” she said at a Community Board meeting on Feb. 1. “I actually saw it on Channel 7 news at 11 o’clock at night.” 

Keehan-Smith said she immediately called an elected official to “express our disappointment that once again after sessions with the Queens Borough President’s office about communication that they still failed to provide us with adequate notification.”

DHS officials said all 54 families were moved to other sites to meet “immediate capacity needs.” They added that due to the long periods of cold weather, the amount of single men requiring shelter rose. Single adult men are also not allowed to occupy the same shelter as families with children.

Officials apologized for a miscommunication — though the nonprofit provider, Children’s Community Services, started verbally notifying families about the move on Jan. 14, families did not get a letter from DHS until Jan. 17 when they should have received it on Jan. 15 to provide 48 hours notice.

“Families at this location were transferred to other sites so we could use this location to meet immediate capacity needs,” said Isaac McGinn, press secretary for DHS. “The central goal of the mayor’s Turning the Tide plan is keeping families and children closer to support networks and schools. While we implement that plan and phaseout the use of all commercial hotel locations, we are working to preserve as much stability as possible for our families as they get back on their feet.”

Officials also cited the 1981 Right to Shelter court order, which established that the city and state must house homeless New Yorkers. Until they are able to fully implement the Turning the Tide Plan, they said, the agency must place and transfer families and individuals in hotels on an emergency basis and are aiming to provide at least 48 hours notice.

The new nonprofit services provider is Core Services, Keehan-Smith said. Currently, 60 rooms with 114 beds, or 85 percent of the building is occupied by the single adult men.

Keehan-Smith and other members of Community Board 2 also expressed concern about the children and families who were shipped to other locations, some with only one day’s notice.

“Some of these children were in school so they went to school on a Wednesday, came home from school and were told, ‘Ok,pack up your bags. We have to be out tonight,'” Keehan-Smith told the board. “I mean, this is a horrible experience to begin with and then to have this added stress. Most of [the families] are working so they had to take time off from their job. It was not handled well.”

The Daily News spoke to families who were scrambling to pack their belongings and move to shelters, sometimes in different boroughs.

“They told us at the last minute,” said Shawnette, a mother of three children told the Daily News. “I have to change it all now. I’ll be doing that all day going back and forth.”

Her children are registered at a daycare one block away from the City View Inn, she told the paper. But DHS took them to a shelter in Upper Manhattan.

Erica and Joe, who have a 3-year-old son, told the Daily News that they received conflicting information. Some families were told they could stay at first but were later told to leave. At first, families were told they had to leave on Wednesday so Joe took off of work only to learn that the move out day had been changed to Thursday.

“That cost me a day’s pay,” he told the Daily News.


Join The Discussion

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jo February 09, 2018 / 09:54PM
I've noticed an increase in men's shelters these days. It is because they are phasing out RIKER'S ISLAND. They are trying to get the prison numbers down to 5K from 10K, so they can begin the closing of RIKERS. It's in their plans. They are releasing these prisoners into the community. Some have nowhere to go, so in this right to shelter state, they wind up in our homeless shelters. We all better be stepping up and voicing our concerns.

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