Nearly 50 demonstrators rallied for the removal of the homeless families shelter at the Westway Motel in East Elmhurst Saturday, a day after a convicted child molester was removed from the facility.
Shouting “Westway, No Way” and carrying posters that read “The Westway is not the Best Way” the protesters demanded the closure of the shelter, at 71-11 Astoria Blvd., even after the Department of Homeless Services announced plans for a new policy change.
“We really put the squeeze on DHS,” state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) said. “Costa Constantinides, Aravella Simotas and then Joe Crowley got involved. We jumped on it and in a day and a half he was voluntarily transferred.”
Constantinides is the councilman from Astoria, Simotas is the assemblywoman for the area and Crowley is the congressman for that part of Queens.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris’ Astoria office received so many phone calls from angry constituents that he joined the battle even though the Westway Motel is in Peralta’s district. “The continuing lack of information and transparency surrounding the Westway is extremely troubling and validates the community’s concerns about this location from the start,” Gianaris said.