I just had a conference call with a representative of the Mayor's Office of Community Affairs and a representative of the Mayor's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. They called to give me a briefing about what went on this morning with elected officials, NYPD and Community Board 5 concerning their intention to place a homeless shelter in Maspeth on the Woodside border.
I asked a lot of questions and here are the answers in a nutshell:
- The proposed homeless shelter will be at the Holiday Inn on the LIE service road across from McDonald's.
- The Mayor's office is aware of the severe overcrowding in School District 24 and in light of this no children will live at this shelter.
- The shelter will house 110 "couples", boyfriends/girlfriends, etc. etc. This would total 220 people altogether.
- The shelter will house these "homeless" couples on a temporary basis but they are looking to make the site permanent so they can continue to house people on a temporary basis.
- I was told the "good" news was that no sex offenders would be housed there. When I replied, "Similar to the Pan Am Shelter??, I was told that was an "unfortunate oversight".
- I asked if people with criminal history would be housed there. Needless to say, I didn't get a direct answer but was told that there would be "security" in and around the homeless shelter. In addition, the 104th Precinct would monitor the area.
- It didn't faze them that the Pan Am Homeless Shelter and the Metro Motel Homeless Shelter is in close proximity.
- I asked where these "homeless" couples are living now and was told they are in shelters around the city. The representative from Intergovernmental Affairs alleged that many of these couples formerly lived in addresses within Community Board 5 (Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Glendale, Woodside).
- I was told that if the community could come up with an alternate site with a quick turnaround, within 30 days, they may reconsider this location. A "quick turnaround" means ready to move in with minimal to no construction.
- COMET will be working with our elected officials to come up with a date, location and time in order to give the community a chance to hear the proposal and voice their concerns.
Roe Daraio, President
Comet Civic Association