No one is saying for certain, but it appears that the on-again, off-again proposal to build a men’s homeless shelter at a vacant factory building on Cooper Avenue in Glendale is on hold, according to Councilman Bob Holden (D-Middle Village), who addressed a packed house at the Juniper Park Civic Association’s meeting on Sept. 20.
Holden said he received confirmation in July that negotiations were underway for a plan to erect a shelter at 78-16 Cooper Ave. The facility could house up to 200 beds, he said, the maximum number permitted by the city’s Department of Homeless Services.
At the time, according to Holden, DHS Commissioner Steven Banks told him that no contracts had been signed.
As things stand, Holden said Banks is open to discussing other possible locations for the shelter, leaving the Cooper Avenue site available for other purposes.
“I’m confident,” he told the estimated 150 concerned area residents in attendance. But, he added, “It’s not a definite. We have people who are ready to protest.”
He promised to “work out the political end on my part.”
“We’re getting close” to making a school happen, Holden said. “They just have to go through the [Department of Education]; they have to talk to other people.”
A school, he said, “seems more likely now, it’s safe to say, than a homeless shelter.” The comment elicited widespread applause from the crowd.
Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan said that rumors about a new homeless shelter in Maspeth has been confirmed to her office from an unknown source.
Nolan told QNS on Friday afternoon that the shelter could be placed at P.S. 9 on 57th Street — but other activists and politicians are holding their tongues. The assemblywoman also declined to disclose the identity of the source.
Although city officials have yet to confirm this, Nolan worries the de Blasio administration could act fast to divert students – many of whom are bused in – and place “hundreds” of homeless people in the building.
“I don’t want to see a homeless shelter on 57th Street, it’s an absolutely terrible location,” Nolan said. “The city hasn’t [followed through] on anything they said and we have homeless people in all the hotels in Long Island City on a small rotating basis. How many more area we going to take? I want to work with Councilman Holden, Assemblymen Barnwell and Miller… and I’m hoping we can all work together.”
In Maspeth, 57th Street only runs for about a block and a half between Flushing and Grand Avenues and is mostly lined with warehouses, about five row-houses as well as P.S. 9.
“When the city moves, it moves very quickly, and I don’t want to wake up next week and find beds in P. 9,” Nolan continued.
Nolan also spoke of concern about a potential shelter at Summerfield Street and Wyckoff Avenue in Ridgewood.
From the Queens Chronicle:
Ozone Park activist Sam Esposito made a Facebook post on Sunday evening in which he claimed a tentative victory in the Ozone Park Block Association’s crusade against the homeless shelter being constructed at the former Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church on 101st Avenue and 86th street. The shelter is being constructed to house 113 men with mental illness.
Esposito claimed that major work had stopped and that a change in plans by the city will be made public soon.
“In closing, nothing official has been announced yet, but all indications point to the fact that we are NOT getting the 113 men, and the whole idea of a shelter, in that location, right now, is up in the air,” the post says in part. “I sent out 2 letters, again, to the owners’ wives this week and I hope they will find it in their hearts to convince their husbands, to do something else with this site.”
Isaac McGinn of the Department of Homeless Services, however, said the city is going ahead with its plans to turn the church into a homeless shelter.