Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan first reported those whispers in an October 10th statement, stating that the mayor has been looking at placing a shelter on 57th Street.
Initially, community members were confused. Community Board 5 leaders were not aware of any new shelter location. The topic never came up in the board meeting last week.
Subsequent statements from Nolan identified the site as PS 9, The Walter Reed School, which serves special education students.
Immediately, residents blasted the idea on social media. The Juniper Park Civic Association said they will oppose any attempt to convert the school into a shelter.
District 24 is one of the most overcrowded districts in the city, the civic group noted, so it makes no sense to lose classroom seats. PS 9 is already undergoing a $12 million renovation by the School Construction Authority, they added.
“JCPA stands in opposition to any effort to protect one neighborhood while dumping on another,” the group posted on its website.
Nolan, who met with Councilman Bob Holden to discuss the rumors, said she will work to oppose any new shelters in the area.
Assemblyman Brian Barnwell said the site isn’t in his district, and he still needs more information about the proposal.
“I urge the city not to open any more shelters in western Queens, as we have already received hundreds and hundreds of of beds in several new shelters,” Nolan said in an October 12 statement.
A request for confirmation to the Department of Homeless Services went unanswered.