FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM DECEMBER 6, 2018 • THE QUEENS COURIER 17
City hears it
on shelter at
BY JENNA BAGCAL
Tensions were through the roof at the Nov. 28 College Point
Civic Association and Taxpayers meeting as residents expressed
anger and fear over a proposed homeless shelter in the neighborhood.
Nearly 200 people fi lled the room at the Poppenhusen Institute
for the meeting, which required tickets to count the number of
attendees; dozens more residents found themselves waiting just
outside the doors for the session.
Residents were joined by Councilman Paul Vallone and neighbors
in Whitestone who were given the opportunity to quiz
Jackie Bray, the fi rst deputy commissioner for the Department of
Homeless Services (DHS), about the plan. Bray shared information
regarding the location at 127-03 20th Ave. and fi elded the
According to Bray, the shelter would be a “general population
shelter,” meaning that residents in the 200 single men’s shelter
would not be men who are registered sex off enders or have substance
abuse and mental health issues.
She said that those allowed to live in the shelter underwent an
evaluation process, which involved assessing each individual to
see where they should be placed. Before being placed in a shelter,
men come from their intake center in Manhattan and placed
in an assessment shelter where they are given a comprehensive
background and mental health check.
“At that assessment shelter, we spend a full month determining
what type of services that individual needs,” Bray said. “Th at’s
when we do a psychological examination. Th at’s when we do a
background check. It’s when we make decisions about what type
of shelter that person needs.”
Th e DHS spokesperson added that the agency is not involved
in selecting sites for the shelter. She said that process involves
developers “working with landlords” and nonprofi t organizations
will then “propose the site to the city.”
With regards to safety, Bray said that there would be a “minimum”
of 43 security guards and supervisors and at least 133 to
136 cameras on the outside.
But the uproarious crowd — which oft en burst into loud, disapproving
shouts as Bray supplied information about the shelter
— could not be convinced that it was right for their community.
“We take care of our own. We don’t need to take care of anybody
else,” yelled one resident from the crowd.
“Put it somewhere else!” yelled another.
“Th is is my town. Th is is our town,” said a resident named
David. “What you’re doing, to force people in, to teach them
skills that they need — we have enough kids in this town and
enough adults in this town that need that, that can help this community.
You are gonna bring nothing but trouble to this town.”
Many residents cited concerns that have been expressed by
many others in the community, including lack of essential services,
inadequate means of transportation and the various elementary,
middle and high schools in the community.
“I have a daughter who goes to Holy Cross, she takes the bus
right down on 20th Avenue and 76th,” said one mother who was
concerned about the population being so close to so many children.
Lawyer E. Christopher Murray, who has sued the city on behalf
of Queens residents in areas such Glendale and Ozone Park
opposed to homeless shelters in their communities, also attended
the meeting. Murray said that he would be willing to litigate
for the people of College Point as well.
At the end of the meeting, resident and protest organizer
Jennifer Shannon encouraged attendees to come to the Dec. 2
protest at noon. According to fl iers that Shannon handed out,
the rally will be at 127th Street and 20th Avenue in College Point.
Shannon also shared that she and others were raising funds for
residents to sue the city.
$2,000 per homeless man. Th is
isn’t about being about being a
good humanitarian; this is about
profi t. Th ey said it in the New
York Times: ‘Th is is good business.
Th is is good profi t.’ Not
here in College Point. We will
fi ght every day every way we can
to make sure this shelter does not
Shannon urged those in attendance
to donate money that
would go toward taking legal
action against the city.
“College Point, Whitestone,
Bayside, whoever wants to get in
with us, we are suing New York
City. In order to sue New York
City, we need money and I assure
you the city’s not giving it to
us. We need donations. We need
you,” she said.
Shannon told attendees that the
College Point Residents Coalition
would be accepting checks and
cash and that there would be “full
transparency” about what the
money would go toward, including
the $10,000 retainer for a lawyer.
She addressed the criticism
from those who have called
College Point residents “heartless”
for protesting the shelter
and added that the community
“actively” takes care of their
“We feed them. Some of them
have come into our homes. We
have found them shelter. We take
care of them. We have begged
them to stay in places where
they would be safe and warm,”
Shannon said. “Don’t tell us we
don’t care because we do. So for
all of you out there saying we
don’t care: you don’t know us,
don’t judge us.”
Residents from neighboring
areas like Whitestone came out
to protest in solidarity, including
Alfredo Centola, the president of
the We Love Whitestone Civic
“It’s all about profi t. Th ey don’t
give a rat’s rear-end about homeless
people because if they did,
they would take the 26 acres in
Willets Point, they would develop
real aff ordable housing, they
would develop real shelters,”
Centola said. “Th ey would develop
in a community that could
According to Vallone, there
is an upcoming town hall meeting
concerning the shelter on
Monday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m. at P.S.
29, located at 125-10 23rd Ave.
City Councilman Paul Vallone speaks at the Dec. 2 rally.