Though she did not skip the issue of the rising number of homeless people in the city altogether, many saw Katz’s approach as the easy way out. Noting the increased homeless population, the borough president called on the New York City Housing Authority to increase its number of allotted housing units for homeless families.
In the past year, however, one of the biggest hot button issues not only in Queens but in all boroughs, has been the number of emergency homeless shelters that have popped up in locations overnight, and then unceremoniously turned into permanent shelters six months later.
From Glendale and Astoria in Queens to Greenpoint in Brooklyn, residents in neighborhoods across the city have woken up shocked to find homeless shelters where there were none the night before.
And residents are tired of it, with many continuing to fight what they believe to be an undemocratic process on the part of the Department of Homeless Services, placing shelters without gathering any community input.
Katz is certainly aware of this issue and the frustration of her constituents, yet she did not address it during her address about the homeless in any shape or form.
Regardless of her feelings on emergency shelters and the process through which they are created, Katz owed it to the many residents in Queens who have felt blindsided by these shelters to make note of their concerns and acknowledge what has been an important part of the history of Queens in 2014.
If nothing else, Queens residents would then at least have felt like their cries for transparency were being heard.