From the Daily News:
Local leaders in southern Queens have cried out for years that their communities shoulder more than their fair share of the borough's homeless shelters.
Turns out they were right.
Of the borough's 18 shelters, 14 are in the Jamaica area, according to a city Department of Homeless Services list obtained by the Daily News through a Freedom of Information Act request.
But a DHS official said yesterday that the distribution is fair because more than half of Queens' homeless families come from the Jamaica area. And 43% of the borough's homeless single adults are also from southeast Queens, said DHS spokeswoman Heather Janik.
But The News found additional facilities for the homeless and formerly homeless not included in the city tally. That wasn't a surprise to local officials.
From the Queens Tribune:
About a month ago, Valerie Lewis, the principal of PS 124 in South Ozone Park, noticed students who lived in the Skyway Hotel homeless shelter two blocks from the school began missing class. Concerned about the pattern of absences, she walked over to the shelter which housed homeless families at 132-10 South Conduit Ave., and was horrified at what she found.
Families, given only five days' notice, were uprooted. The water in the building was turned off. Furniture was being thrown into the street.
"What was going on there was egregious," Lewis said.
Without warning, the shelter was reclassified a "men only shelter," and local residents and officials, irate at the City for what it calls "lack of respect" for their neighborhood, have grown further incensed. Nobody, not the shelter's neighbors, nor local officials, nor Community Board 10, knew it was happening. By the time parents and community members gathered at PS 124 on March 3, more than 30 men had already moved in.
Lewis said she had contacted the City and the new owners of the shelter, who had told her that the homeless population among single adults had risen, necessitating the need for more shelters, and families were being moved to parts of the City where there were "more opportunities." By the end of March, she said, the shelter would house up to 180 men.
"I think they thought no one would notice," she said.
And there's another one heading to Greenpoint.