In the quiet neighborhood of Glendale, on Cooper Avenue, sits a dormant, run-down factory building hidden behind a chain-link fence. Neighbors see the building and surrounding facilities as a solution to overflowing classrooms in their neighborhood and others in the borough.
“It’s the most overcrowded school district in the City of New York. And this would be a complex for all district 24,” said former school board member Kathy Masi. “Kids from Ridgewood, kids from Corona, kids from Middle Village, Maspeth, everyone would be able to come here.”
But instead of a school, the building is slated to become a shelter. Once a rumor, the $27 million plan continues to inch closer to reality. And in the meantime, other shelters have popped up around the borough, seemingly overnight. That was almost exactly the case at the site of the former Pan Am hotel where families moved in under the cover of darkness back in June.
“This is going on all over Queens,” said Dawn Scala with the Glendale Civic Association. “There’s a total lack of transparency. They’re putting shelters in with no community notice or involvement. And every time we ask questions we get answers that are vague and inconsistent with prior information they’ve given us.”
The Pan Am shelter has been so controversial that both the shelter residents and neighbors protested outside shortly after it opened. Those staying in the shelter say they’re cramped into small rooms, have no way to control the temperature, and are told when they can eat.
“Being here is like being in Rikers Island, being in prison,” said shelter resident Weny Jamison.
And now for the good stuff. The IBO released a report that revealed the following (see pages 12-13):
Over the 2002 through 2012 study period, addresses of families prior to their shelter entrance were concentrated in the Bronx, central Brooklyn and upper Manhattan. The largest share of preshelter addresses were in the Bronx (39 percent), followed by Brooklyn (34 percent). About 13 percent of families listed prior addresses in Manhattan, with roughly 12 percent of entries coming from housing located in Queens and 2 percent from Staten Island. These distributions show an over-representation of shelter entries from the Bronx and, to a lesser extent, from Brooklyn. According to the 2010 census, 31 percent of New York City households lived in Brooklyn, followed by 27 percent in Queens, 19 percent in Manhattan, 17 percent in the Bronx, and 6 percent in Staten Island.
Despite more homeless families coming from the Bronx than any other borough, the top three neighborhoods where families lived prior to shelter were all located in Brooklyn.
Here's a map of where the homeless are coming from.
SO IF QUEENS DOESN'T SEND ALL THAT MANY PEOPLE TO SHELTERS, THEN WHY ARE MORE SHELTERS BEING DUMPED IN QUEENS, IN NEIGHBORHOODS THAT AREN'T SENDING PEOPLE TO SHELTERS?
Hello, Queens elected officials?