Civic takes shelter fight to Gracie Mansion
by Crystal Wolfe
May 15, 2018 | 5226 views | 0 0 comments | 179 179 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Residents of Blissville protested in front of Gracie Mansion to show their opposition to the proposed North Star homeless shelter at Fairfield Inn by Marriott at 52-34 Van Dam Street.

“With this homeless shelter there will be more homeless than residents,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. “This is an isolated, industrial area that lacks the basic amenities for the needs of the homeless.”

Maria Davis, vice president of the newly established Blissville Civic Association, claimed that after families were moved out and homeless men were moved into the City View Inn, they've seen crime go up in the area.

As a mother of two daughters with autism, she fears for their safety.

“I'm not to going to lie that I didn't jump for joy when the first homeless shelter moved into our community, but communities were asked to do their fair share,” she said. “Now this is our third homeless shelter coming into the area.”

Home/Life will manage the shelter. The nonprofit says it will provide an array of on-site and off-site services, such as case management, housing placement assistance, mental/health services, support for substance abuse issues, GED instruction, and legal services.

As for security, 95 cameras will be installed on the premises and in the facility. Home/Life will also provide a 24-hour open line for the community to address any concerns.

But civic association member says the location won't serve the needs of the homeless.

“It is a mile away from the nearest supermarket, drugstore, subway, library, and park,” said Ferwah Rizvi. “For anyone who doesn't feel like staying in their small room all day long, there is nowhere to go. This makes sense for the numbers and the bottom line, but not for the people.”

The Fairfield Inn and two other hotels will provide temporary emergency shelter for approximately 500 individuals.

"The city and Home/Life are opening this facility as soon as possible to give adult families from Queens the opportunity to be closer to the communities they called home as they get back on their feet,” said a Department of Homeless Services spokesperson. “We are ensuring the building is ready for occupancy, finalizing all required reviews, and expect to open this facility this spring after all has been completed.

“This facility will be the first of its kind in this community serving adult families and will enable us to phase out all commercial hotels in this district,” the spokesperson added.
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