From the Queens Gazette:
City Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. said the city Department of Homeless Services has informed him that the Westway Motel is “once again going to house overnight single males”.
“I called [Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Seth] Diamond and was told it’s only going to be until January, due to overflow population,” Vallone said. But when he attempted to get the temporary deadline in writing, the wording changed to “as soon as we can”. “This is not acceptable to me,” Vallone said at the October meeting of the United Community Civic Association (UCCA).
Previously, only homeless families with children were sheltered at the Westway, 71-11 Astoria Blvd. Homeless Services refers families with children, adult families, and single adults for overnight shelter. On October 21, there were 8,164 families with children, 1,305 adult families, and 8,339 single adults seeking shelter in New York City, according to the daily census posted on www.nyc.gov.
“I’ve been getting [complaint] calls about panhandling and people on the streets,” UCCA President Rose Marie Poveromo said.
A representative for the Westway Motel said, “This is a sleepover facility. It is not a fulltime facility. They come in and they spend the night. They are bused in at night and they must leave by 10 a.m.”
The Westway Motel security director said people staying overnight had a 10 p.m. curfew. “People can walk to the corner store,” he said.
Deputy Inspector Stephen Cirabisi, commanding officer at the 114th Precinct, said, “My suggestion is if aggressive panhandling or blocking traffic is happening, you’ve got to call 311 so that we can document it.”
Vallone said, “Hopefully, we can mobilize and get [Commissioner Diamond] here to explain himself. We’re going to continue to fight this.”