The Department of Homeless Services has been housing homeless families at the City View Inn in Long Island City since late July, residents learned at a community meeting last night.
The revelation was made during a heated Community Board 2 meeting on Oct. 6 while board members were questioning DHS officials on why the agency started using the Best Western hotel as a shelter without providing the community adequate notice. Some officials said they were given less than 24 hours notice before the decision to use the hotel at 38-05 Hunters Point Ave. as a shelter.
Claims that DHS lacks transparency grew in intensity when attendees were informed that it had been using the Citi View Inn, located at 33-17 Greenpoint Ave., to house 37 homeless families since late July.
A representative from DHS claimed that elected officials and the community board were notified 24 hours prior to the homeless moving into the Citi View Inn. CB2 officials, however, claim that they only learned about it being used as a shelter after the 108 Police Precinct notified them of some domestic disputes at the location — and they did some digging.
Representatives of DHS faced an onslaught of criticism at the meeting, with elected officials, board members and the public arguing that the agency acts in secret to the detriment of the public.
“This is a broken system,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who spoke at the beginning of the board meeting. “It is wrong and absolutely absurd to start moving people in before anyone in the community knows or has an opportunity to talk about it.”
Some board members claimed that Community Board 2 is carrying an unfair burden, with four hotels in the district now being used to shelter the homeless–the Verve Hotel, Best Western, Quality Inn and Citi View. Many also wanted to know how many homeless people came from CB2.
Amanda Nasner, the Queens Director for DHS, said that 416 homeless people are being housed in Community Board 2. She said that 260 individuals who are part of the citywide shelter system come from CB2.