City Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks informed City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley about the proposed homeless shelter in Maspeth more than two months before it was officially announced, according to a source with the Department of Social Services (DSS).
The source told QNS on Thursday that Banks and Crowley exchanged phone calls “several times before the Aug. 3 community meeting” at the Maspeth library, where city officials announced plans to convert the Holiday Inn Express on 55th Road into a homeless shelter for up to 220 adults. Earlier this month, the city ultimately halted that plan and instead rented hotel rooms to indefinitely house 30 homeless men.
The earliest Crowley knew about the shelter plan, according to the DSS source, was in May at an initial meeting between Crowley and Banks. They had met on May 19 at Crowley’s legislative office in Manhattan and “subsequently had a number of additional, detailed in-person and telephone conversations” about the proposal. QNS has requested from DSS any recordings taken of those conversations.
“At the May 19 meeting, Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks informed Council Member Crowley that there were plans by a nonprofit service provider to convert the Holiday Inn in Maspeth from a commercial hotel into a homeless shelter for adult families, and that there was an urgent need for additional shelter capacity immediately,” the source said.
Thank you for clarifying, QNS!