Pols blast city for ‘uprooting’ homeless population
Jun 17, 2020 | 821 views | 0 0 comments | 71 71 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As the coronavirus crisis continues to impact New York City’s shelter population, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) has been moving residents out of crowded facilities to avoid spreading the virus.

On June 6, Councilman Robert Holden announced that DHS was removing all 120 men from the Cooper Rapid Rehousing Center and relocating them to hotel rooms during the outbreak.

Though they were supposed to be moved the following Tuesday, Glendale civic leader Kathy Masi said they were not moved on that day. Holden also called on the city agency to permanently close the Cooper Avenue shelter.

In northeast Queens, local lawmakers have also expressed frustration with DHS for their “continued lack of communication and transparency.” A few weeks ago, the city relocated homeless women from the College Point shelter on 20th Avenue to a hotel in another neighborhood.

On Friday, they informed the legislators that 96 residents of a Bronx men’s homeless shelter will be transferred to Fairfield Hotel on College Point Boulevard, not far from the site of the women’s shelter.

In a joint statement, Councilman Paul Vallone, State Senator John Liu and Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal said this “rushed decision making” by DHS only creates frustration and distrust within communities.

“Uprooting the neighborhood’s current residents and transferring homeless individuals across boroughs during a pandemic is an irresponsible policy,” they said. “This lack of foresight and planning compromises the health of not only our vulnerable populations, but also of staff and service providers.”

The lawmakers pledged to hold DHS accountable to their promise that this is a “temporary arrangement.”

“We as elected officials stand united in opposition to the city’s short-sighted approach,” they said.
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