What was billed as a way for South Ozone Park residents to get answers from officials seeking to operate a residence for juvenile delinquents in the community quickly dissolved into more than 100 people shouting with frustration on Tuesday.
“We don’t want it here,” several residents yelled at a meeting of the South Ozone Park Civic Association West. “Put it somewhere else.”
The city Administration for Children’s Services leased a property at 133-23 127 St. to house 18 criminal offenders between the ages of 14 and 17. The program, entitled “Close to Home,” was passed as part of the 2012 state budget and seeks to hold juvenile criminals in residences closer to where they live, rather than in upstate prison facilities.
But several of the residents blasted officials from ACS and the organization that will oversee the teens or youths in the property —Episcopal Social Services — for no prior notice about the new residence, its proximity to two other similar shelters and a lack of answers.
Somehow, this is not surprising.