The Quality Inn located at 53-05 Queens Boulevard.
The Quality Inn located at 53-05 Queens Boulevard.
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Woodside hotel now serving as shelter for homeless
by Patrick Kearns
Aug 24, 2016 | 25 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The 72-room Quality Inn on Queens Boulevard has been sheltering homeless families for at least a month, according to several of the hotel's neighbors and the Office of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. A neighbor, who asked that her name not be used, said she first contacted Van Bramer's office on July 14 wondering why there were no talks or public meetings before the decision, like in nearby Maspeth where the Department of Homeless Services aims to convert a Holiday Inn into a homeless shelter. “When I originally called Van Bramer's office and advised them that this hotel was turned into a homeless shelter, they said they didn't know anything about it and had not been informed,” she said. “In Maspeth, they were informed in advance and had rallies. To my knowledge, many people in this area where unaware of what's going on here.” In the past month, she said there's been a serious problem with litter on her property, and said residents of the hotel smoke marijuana behind the building. “I am forced four or five times a day to pick up litter and debris,” she said. “I'm concerned for my safety.” She was informed by Van Bramer's office that the situation is only temporary, but she fears that the longer it goes on and word spreads fewer people will stay at the hotel, ultimately leaving more rooms for homeless individuals. Not everyone in the immediate vicinity has noticed a difference. One woman who lives on 54th Street and whose backyard was adjacent to the hotel said she's noticed no difference in the quality of life. “That hotel is very quiet,” she said. Van Bramer's office has asked the city for a timeline for scaling back the use of the hotel as a temporary shelter, which is housing mostly single mothers with children.
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Woodside hotel now serving as shelter for homeless
by Patrick Kearns
Aug 24, 2016 | 767 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Quality Inn located at 53-05 Queens Boulevard.
The Quality Inn located at 53-05 Queens Boulevard.
slideshow
The 72-room Quality Inn on Queens Boulevard has been sheltering homeless families for at least a month, according to several of the hotel's neighbors and the Office of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. A neighbor, who asked that her name not be used, said she first contacted Van Bramer's office on July 14 wondering why there were no talks or public meetings before the decision, like in nearby Maspeth where the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) aims to convert a Holiday Inn into a homeless shelter. “When I originally called Van Bramer's office and advised them that this hotel was turned into a homeless shelter, they said they didn't know anything about it and had not been informed,” she said. “In Maspeth, they were informed in advance and had rallies. To my knowledge, many people in this area where unaware of what's going on here.” In the past month, she said there's been a serious problem with litter on her property, and said residents of the hotel smoke marijuana behind the building. “I am forced four or five times a day to pick up litter and debris,” she said. “I'm concerned for my safety.” She was informed by Van Bramer's office that the situation is only temporary, but she fears that the longer it goes on and word spreads fewer people will stay at the hotel, ultimately leaving more rooms for homeless individuals. Not everyone in the immediate vicinity has noticed a difference. One woman who lives on 54th Street and whose backyard was adjacent to the hotel said she's noticed no difference in the quality of life. “That hotel is very quiet,” she said. Van Bramer's office has asked the city for a timeline for scaling back the use of the hotel as a temporary shelter, which is housing mostly single mothers with children. DHS responded on Wednesday saying there's no current plans to convert the Quality Inn into a homeless shelter. Rather, the agency is currently renting rooms on a temporary basis for homeless families. "These families come to us from every neighborhood," said a DHS spokesperson. "We thank the communities and businesses standing with their neighbors as they navigate the most difficult situations of their lives, and we are doing our part to bring appropriate security and social services to the sites we utilize, including those that are, like this space, not functioning as homeless shelters.”
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Markey: meeting with Stringer key to stopping shelter
Aug 24, 2016 | 443 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Assemblywoman Marge Markey confirmed last week that she spoke to Comptroller Scott Stringer stopping the city from using a “homeless emergency declaration” to fast-track the conversion of the Holiday Inn Express into a shelter. “They must go through a review process,” she said. “And since the comptroller is on our side, the city should pay attention.” A spokesperson for the comptroller said the office spoke with Markey last week. “Siting a shelter without consulting the community does a disservice to clients and local residents,” the spokesperson said. Stringer confirmed he is planning to meet with community leaders and local elected officials to ensure that everyone is heard and has a seat at the table. Markey also questioned the Department of Homeless Service's figures that 240 registered homeless people listed Maspeth as their last permanent address. “Were they burned out of their homes?” she asked. “Did the family throw them out?” Protesters call for boycott Among the protest signs this week in front of the Holiday Inn Express the city wants to turn into a homeless shelter were a few that called for a boycott of Holiday Inn Hotels nationwide. “This is a beautiful hotel,” said Michael LoCascio, one of the more vocal leaders of the protests. “A Holiday Inn which was built 40 months ago should not be turned into a shelter. “Holiday Inn should not sanction this, it’s a big conglomerate,” he added. “They don’t need this to hurt their reputation around the country. I certainly won’t stay in a Holiday Inn anywhere, and a whole bunch of people in that ‘pen’ over there are doing the same.” LoCascio alleges he spoke to a man who is staying at the hotel with his 96-year-old mother on a ventilator. “The man told me the city is paying for his room,” he said. The city has repeatedly denied the Department of Homeless Services is sheltering homeless at the hotel. CB5 to hold public hearing In response to a proposal by the city Department of Homeless Services and the Human Resources Administration to use the Holiday Inn Express at 59-40 55th Road in Maspeth as a residence for homeless couples or parents with an adult child, Community Board 5 will conduct a public hearing on Wednesday, August 31, at 7 p.m. The hearing will be held at the Knockdown Center at 52-19 Flushing Avenue in Maspeth. CB5 district manager Gary Giordano said there will be a formal opportunity for local residents and business representatives to hear specifics of the proposal, to ask questions of city agency representatives, and to testify for or against the plan. He added that every effort will be made to have this hearing conducted respectfully and thoughtfully. Anyone wishing to speak at the hearing is asked to register in advance by calling Board 5 at (718) 366-1834 or sending an email to qnscb5@nyc.rr.com. Depending on the number of speakers registering, speaking time will be limited to three minutes or less for each speaker. Speakers are asked to provide a written copy of their testimony at the time of the hearing.
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