City Councilmember Peter F. Vallone Jr. voiced strong opposition this week to a proposed 50-unit housing development for mentally ill, homeless New Yorkers proposed to be built in an underserved section of his Astoria district. Vallone fears the facility could endanger positive renewal developments slated for the area. He has written state officials in opposition to the plan and begun a petition drive to show popular opposition to the project.
Vallone Opposes Mentally Ill Homeless Housing In Astoria
"Certainly, no community can be thrilled about such a project, but in this instance the consequences could be dire for a neighborhood that has long been struggling to improve itself," Vallone said. "For this project, it is simply not the right place nor the right time."
Urban Pathways, a non-profit group that runs programs to rehabilitate the homeless, has proposed building a large apartment building at the intersection of 27th Avenue and 2nd Street near Hallets Cove, adjacent to the Astoria Houses. The group says it intends to take advantage of the resources and public transportation in that neighborhood, but Vallone contends that in reality that area is considerably underserved in both respects. It lacks basic fixtures such as supermarkets and banks, let alone treatment programs or community centers that could assist the residents of the proposed facility. The subway is a considerable walk, and bus service is limited. Vallone believes the only attraction of the site is an available vacant lot, which he says is a misguided criterion for a location for such a development.