Thursday, November 20, 2014
DHS accused of lying 3 times this week
From DNA Info:
The city booked 100 rooms at an airport hotel for a "government group" — but then filled the rooms with homeless people instead, according to the hotel's manager.
Pierre Merhej, the general manager of the Radisson Hotel on 145th Street in Jamaica, said a representative from the city called his hotel’s sales office last month and said the city would need dozens of rooms at the 385-room hotel for a “government group” in November, he said.
“When you say they have a government group, as hotel people we like government groups,” Merhej said, adding that November is usually a slow month for the hotel, which is a few blocks from John F. Kennedy Airport.
The hotel only found out when the city called to finalize the reservation that the rooms would be used by the Department of Homeless Services to help temporarily house a portion of the city's homeless population — which is currently more than 58,000.
From the Queens Tribune:
The Glendale-Middle Village Coalition is calling on the City to throw out a study done on the proposed Glendale homeless shelter site that the area is safe to house a 125-family shelter.
The coalition has filed a lawsuit against the City of New York and the Dept. of Homeless Services to throw out the previous environmental impact statement that was made at the site earlier this year and to do a new study.
Back in July 2014, the Dept. of Homeless Services released a letter and a report saying that an environmental study done by AECOM USA found that the site at 78-16 Cooper Ave. is environmentally safe for the shelter and they would be moving forward with plans to build one there.
Several opponents of the shelter said the report was not done correctly and contained a lot of wrong information about the neighborhood, including the amount of open space available.
This lawsuit calls for the DHS and the City to throw out the study done by AECOM and conduct a brand new environmental impact statement on the site.
According to the suit, which was obtained by the Queens Tribune, the group wants the study thrown out because they did not take a “hard look” at whether or not the shelter would have at least one negative environmental impact on the neighborhood and did not provide a reason elaborating their findings.
From the Queens Courier:
One Elmhurst grassroots organization is claiming the conditions at the proposed permanent homeless shelter at the former Pan American Hotel are breaking the law.
Elmhurst United, a grassroots organization that has been voicing its opposition to the homeless shelter at 7900 Queens Blvd. since day one, released a statement arguing that conditions at the homeless shelter violate city laws. The statement was released after a Queens Courier report that the city is seeking approval for a $42 million contract to operate the site as a permanent shelter.
The Department of Homeless Services did not immediately respond to request for comment.
The group claims the shelter violates the NYC Administrative Code, which states, “No homeless family shelter shall be established which does not provide a bathroom, a refrigerator and cooking facilities and an adequate sleeping area within each unit within the shelter and which otherwise complies with state and local laws.”
According to the organization, the site does not have kitchens in every unit, which was why initially DHS did not consider the site to be a “permanent family shelter.”
Other conditions include “inadequate sleeping quarters” with four to five people living in a single room with bunk beds pushed up against windows, according to Elmhurst United.