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Author Topic: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter  (Read 7861 times)

Offline greeneyedmommy

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Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« on: July 30, 2014, 10:16:00 AM »
I couldn't find a recent discussion of this topic here, so I thought I should post something about it. While the shelter isn't in Astoria proper, it is very close by and will certainly affect Astoria. BTW, I'm not looking to debate the issue...just want to share the info.

http://astoriapost.com/2014/07/24/residents-want-homeless-shelter-gone-expressed-concerns-about-crime-and-schools/

Offline Philo-Junius

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2014, 10:18:36 AM »
I'm baffled. If this place was NOT a homeless shelter, it is then a place for hourly stays for adultery and prostitution. But people have a problem with homeless people having a place to live instead? Seems backwards to me.
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Offline mm

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2014, 11:04:49 AM »
I'm baffled. If this place was NOT a homeless shelter, it is then a place for hourly stays for adultery and prostitution. But people have a problem with homeless people having a place to live instead? Seems backwards to me.

I agree.

But I think that if we promote prostitution and adultery in the homeless population we can have the cake and eat it too (a not too subtle euphemism I might add).

Offline greeneyedmommy

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2014, 11:09:05 AM »
One of the differences may be that the prostitutes weren't long-term residents sending their kids to already crowded schools. Not that the homeless residents are the same as prostitutes....just following the previous comparison.

Offline 28Grand

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2014, 12:00:53 PM »
They don't say Westway is the best way for nuthin'.


This is a very, very on-going situation. This motel has been used as a temporary homeless shelter on and off for many years and before that it used to as a temporary shelter for people awaiting deportation.


Why it's become so contentious now is that the city has been opening 'permanent' homeless shelters throughout the city without consulting the community or local elected officials. Another shelter was established at the Pan Am hotel on Queens Blvd in Elmhurst, though the city said this would not happen.


In 2012 residents were able to stop the shelter from becoming permanent, though it is my understanding that the Westway stilled housed some homeless residents on a temporary overnight basis since.


It's mostly NIMBYism but also, I think the main objection is that the city warehouses homeless families with complex needs and offers little to no support and it's the local residents who have to deal with any problems that arise. Supposedly the Westway shelter will be run by an organization called Women in Need, so maybe it won't be the case in this instance. 


« Last Edit: November 07, 2014, 07:10:29 AM by 28Grand »

Offline BoredTemp

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2014, 05:31:21 PM »
I realize this is a very complicated issue, but I can't be against mothers and young children having a roof over their head at night.  I hope as a community we can find a way to make this work and support them, so that this is a transition to something better.
 
Surely it's in everyone's best interest if this shelter is able to provide a stable, supportive environment for the young children rather than having them out on the street.   

Offline Philo-Junius

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2014, 08:35:44 AM »
At the end of the day, I would have no problem showing up and protesting FOR the existence of the shelter.


Maybe we can start our own petition?
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Offline daisy

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2014, 10:34:31 AM »
This was the scene in Elmhurst a few weeks ago :  http://gothamist.com/2014/07/01/protesters_jeer_at_homeless_familie_1.php

Instead of teaching their kids compassion, they'd rather teach them hate.  I get its a complicated issue but this behavior makes me sick.

Offline nsutaria

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2014, 12:24:17 PM »
At the end of the day, I would have no problem showing up and protesting FOR the existence of the shelter.
Maybe we can start our own petition?




I agree and have no problem supporting the family shelter either, both in person and via petition. I also might go a step further by volunteering and welcoming these families to the neighborhood.  A family is a stable unit and parents, by and large, want the best for their kids - that includes a roof over their head and stability before finding permanent home.


Just FYI - there's a volunteer orientation at Women In Need on Thursday August 8th:
http://winnyc.org/get-involved-with-win/become-a-volunteer-at-win/getinvolvedvolunteer/
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Offline megc

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2014, 02:28:02 PM »
A bit of a bright spot in an otherwise sad and embarrassing situation. Did you know that Queens has the second least number of homeless shelters in the 5 boroughs? Only Staten Island has less than Queens.


http://www.qchron.com/editions/central/residents-host-bbq-for-pan-am-families/article_83f0501b-2a45-5669-a34f-f5add297237c.html

Offline greeneyedmommy

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2014, 03:22:53 PM »

Here is more info on the Elmhurst/Pan Am shelter protests:  http://www.timesledger.com/stories/2014/30/panamprotest_tl_2014_07_25_q.html

The Westway shelter is a done deal and will be very profitable (see below). It currently houses 67 families with 129 children. They are now renovating the remainder of the rooms to eventually provide long-term housing for 121 families (men, women & children). With the contracts in place, it does not seem to be in any danger of closing.

http://www.qchron.com/editions/central/homeless-shelters-prove-profitable/article_b152d38c-363c-51e0-857e-06ecc9e106d8.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/09/nyregion/for-some-landlords-real-money-in-the-homeless.html?pagewanted=all

This article discusses changes made to the motel 6 years ago.
http://www.qchron.com/editions/western/astoria-residents-updated-by-westway-motel-owner/article_ccb19adc-7952-519c-972e-7b6eb43d0540.html

Some of motel's owners are mentioned in this article.
http://brie.hunter.cuny.edu/hpe/2014/03/05/new-landlord-worries-faile-street-tenants/


Brooklyn residents have also protested new shelters in their neighborhoods.
http://www.canarsiecourier.com/news/2013-09-19/Other_News/Protesters_Want_Answers_For_Shelter_Construction.html
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/brooklyn-politicians-community-groups-protest-plan-sprawling-homeless-shelter-article-1.1798993


Offline Philo-Junius

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2014, 03:22:56 PM »
A bit of a bright spot in an otherwise sad and embarrassing situation. Did you know that Queens has the second least number of homeless shelters in the 5 boroughs? Only Staten Island has less than Queens.


http://www.qchron.com/editions/central/residents-host-bbq-for-pan-am-families/article_83f0501b-2a45-5669-a34f-f5add297237c.html


Not sure how that's a bright spot exactly. That doesn't necessarily mean that we have fewer homeless people. Or it could be that the homeless people we have are not being accommodated.
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Offline holyfrjole

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2014, 12:14:49 AM »
Unfortunately, these families, many of whom have ended up in the shelter after being displaced due to tragic circumstances (like fire, or domestic violence) have found themselves unwelcome in the neighborhood and targeted by police. The majority of these families are minorities -- African-American, or Hispanic -- and are typically targets of police, but in a neighborhood that is predominately white, these families are easy to identify in the community and are unfairly being harassed by police. It seems like they're just looking for statistics to say "look, the shelter has brought with it an uptick in crime" so they can argue that it should be closed.


People agree with providing help for women, children, and families in need until it becomes a NIMBY situation.

Offline Philo-Junius

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2014, 07:34:05 AM »
I don't think this is a race issue, but instead one of compassion that we see among NIMBYs every step of the way. It's embarrassing.
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Offline greeneyedmommy

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2014, 12:40:30 PM »
Pejorative terms such as NIMBY and racist are often used to dismiss the legitimate concerns of local residents. It is most likely that those who seek to delegitimize these concerns do not live close to the shelter. Local residents who live within a 5 block radius of the shelter will tell you that since the shelter has opened their cars have been broken into repeatedly. They will tell you about being confronted by aggressive panhandlers. They will also tell you that they witness public urination and defecation regularly. They will also tell you that they have found used heroin needles and empty heroin packets in their backyards and on the sidewalks in front of their homes. They will tell you that they are afraid that their young children will pick up used needles or accidentally step on them. They will also tell you of being threatened with unprovoked violence while riding a city bus home with their children.


When you speak to local residents (even in private), they will NOT tell you that they are afraid of seeing a black or Hispanic man on their block, or whatever stereotypical fear others want to impose on them. Whether you speak to Greek, Italian, Dominican, Ecuadorian, Filipino, Colombian, Irish, Guyanese, Albanian, Indian, Moroccan, Egyptian, or Chinese residents; they will all recount the same types of incidents and how they are often afraid for theirs and their family's safety. Shelter residents are not being assaulted or verbally threatened by local residents. There have been no angry protests at the shelter. The shelter residents have not been denied any rights in this neighborhood.


The homeless residents are not being targeted by police. There is NOT an increased police presence in the area. The representatives of the 114 frequently deny that these things are happening at all, or that they could have anything to do with the shelter opening. This is very frustrating to local residents who have been victims of crime.


To deny that shelters can be homes to criminals, drug-addicts, and the mentally ill; as well as hard-working families needing temporatry help, is naive. These are the types of issues that residents want to see addressed. Here is a sampling of shelter issues in NYC.
http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20141006/chelsea/peace-officers-sent-into-homeless-shelter-that-neighbors-call-war-zone/slideshow/558210#slideshow-carousel
http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Stepdaughter-Beating-Death-Brooklyn-Homeless-Shelter-Brother-New-York-City--279800982.html
http://gothamist.com/2014/10/25/mother_charged_with_murder_of_4-yea.php
http://www.westsiderag.com/2014/06/19/amid-protest-bratton-ends-raids-on-upper-west-side-homeless-shelters


Also, just to set the record straight....the Westway is not a DV (domestic violence) shelter or 'women with children only' shelter. It is a family residence with men, women, and children (from infants to age 17). It is also not a Queens-specific shelter. All NYC shelters are open to anyone who presents at the intake office as homeless regardless of their NYS residency or citizenship status. Also, outstanding warrant checks are not performed prior to shelter placement.

Offline Philo-Junius

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2014, 01:31:03 PM »
NIMBY isn't a race, so I stopped reading.


If you are referring to me castigating an entire group, it's not like people are born NIMBYs, don't have a choice to be one and I am unfairly discriminating against them. It is one thing to oppose something, but being a NIMBY, by definition, means that person owns some assholery.
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Offline DogBert

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2014, 06:22:15 PM »
Ok I'll throw another log on this fire...

So far as I know there is no NYC/NYS residency requirement for homeless entering the system. I've read quite a few stories that state some of the homeless in these shelters lived in other states, then showed up in NYC and entered our shelter system.

NYC on a whole is an extremely expensive city to live in. I'm curious how many people in shelters are able to get out of the shelter system, and if some are not better off living in different parts of the country were cost of living is far less. (Hell, I know people with great jobs planning to escape NYC due to cost of living...).



Offline Philo-Junius

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2014, 06:46:07 PM »
Both this conversation, and the other thread about homeless people, I have been watching closely. I was curious about how many people looked at the homeless situation as a problem that is an annoyance to our quality of life, and how many view is as a problem that is one we need to solve to help our fellow citizens. Sadly, it's imbalanced in the wrong direction.


If someone's homeless, let's give them a home, and if there are other issues beyond it that can be corrected in those individuals' lives, then let's do that. Let's not sit and let people be outside on the street during winter.
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Offline greeneyedmommy

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2014, 01:10:59 PM »
Regarding the discussion of the term NIMBY. I was saying that it is a derogatory term used to dismiss legitimate concerns. I did not say it was a race of people.


Regarding the homeless coming here from other states or countries, this is certainly an issue. I couldn't find any current statistics on this, but here are a few articles from the past 5 years discussing it.
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/out-of-town-homeless-families-flooding-new-york-city-shelters-article-1.1125381
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/18/nyregion/new-york-as-safety-net-for-out-of-town-homeless.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/29/nyregion/29oneway.html


No one I know (including myself) is saying that these people or others like them should be left to sleep outside in the cold. Thanks to hard-working tax-payers, the city has plenty of money to open emergency homeless shelters wherever they see fit. The main issue here is whether these folks are receiving the proper social services to help with their drug addictions and/or mental disorders. Another issue is whether local law enforcement is taking appropriate action regarding crimes being committed by shelter residents.

Offline yippee1999

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2014, 08:38:21 PM »

What's sad is that once again this is the haves (people who suddenly becoming conservative once they have kids, people worried about 'property values') being pitted against the have nots (homeless), and then who gets to sit back and watch everybody battle it out?  Our elected officials.

Instead, both parties should unite against our cities, states and federal government.  Where is the outrage over lack of jobs?....affordable housing?...healthcare...and healthcare that includes coverage for mental health care?  We have the highest prison population in the entire world.  Surely this has a domino effect on families that are broken up, and then the mom and kids become homeless.

Plenty of money for wars, but we never seem to have enough for basic needs for our own tax-paying citizens.

Offline greeneyedmommy

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2015, 11:51:57 AM »

Offline astoristani

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2015, 05:42:35 PM »
What's sad is that once again this is the haves (people who suddenly becoming conservative once they have kids, people worried about 'property values') being pitted against the have nots (homeless), and then who gets to sit back and watch everybody battle it out?  Our elected officials.

Instead, both parties should unite against our cities, states and federal government.  Where is the outrage over lack of jobs?....affordable housing?...healthcare...and healthcare that includes coverage for mental health care?  We have the highest prison population in the entire world.  Surely this has a domino effect on families that are broken up, and then the mom and kids become homeless.

Plenty of money for wars, but we never seem to have enough for basic needs for our own tax-paying citizens.


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Offline astoristani

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2015, 02:11:26 PM »
The majority of these families are minorities -- African-American, or Hispanic -- and are typically targets of police, but in a neighborhood that is predominately white, these families are easy to identify in the community and are unfairly being harassed by police. It seems like they're just looking for statistics to say "look, the shelter has brought with it an uptick in crime" so they can argue that it should be closed.
No offense but since when is East Elmhurst a predominantly white neighborhood? Historically, East Elmhurst has been a lower middle class African American Neighborhood. It biggest demographic shift recently is an influx of Dominicans and Mexicans. So how exactly are the police profiling THESE African Americans and Hispanics amid the other African Americans and Hispanics that were already there?
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Offline greeneyedmommy

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Offline holyfrjole

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2015, 02:19:01 AM »
No offense but since when is East Elmhurst a predominantly white neighborhood? Historically, East Elmhurst has been a lower middle class African American Neighborhood. It biggest demographic shift recently is an influx of Dominicans and Mexicans. So how exactly are the police profiling THESE African Americans and Hispanics amid the other African Americans and Hispanics that were already there?


Upper Ditmars? That side of the GCP/BQE is very white, very Greek. Has been since I was a kid.

Offline 28Grand

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2015, 07:56:45 AM »
I always thought Upper Ditmars was technically Jackson Heights even though every one says Astoria Heights, since it's in the 11370 zip code. The Post Office says 11370 (and 11369) are 'East Elmhurst'. I prefer 'Upper Ditmars' myself, but whatever, I won't quibble.


Demographically though, it's Astoria, and that particular part of East Elmhurst/Jackson Heights/Trainsmeadow (yeah it's a real name) is like the rest of that part of Astoria and is predominantly white.

Offline The Greek

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #27 on: January 30, 2015, 04:13:58 AM »
Here are a few articles regarding the contract public hearing that took place on Jan. 15th.


http://queenstribune.com/astoria-questions-24m-westway-contract/

http://www.licjournal.com/view/full_story/26391375/article-Residents-say-WIN-mismanaging-Westway-Inn-shelter?instance=home_news_1st_left


Thank you.


I'm not confident that they will do the right thing and close the shelter but I hope it works out.


It's been said before but nobody has a problem with homeless shelters. I'm all for the homeless having a place to stay. But don't put a shelter in the middle of a quiet community and, in doing so, start to ruin the quiet community. There are plenty of other locations for shelters away from families, schools and private homes.

Offline King of Long Island City

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #28 on: January 30, 2015, 11:12:15 AM »
Maybe we can ship all the homeless people to an island, and let them live there. God forbid they be near schools and families and private homes.




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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #29 on: January 30, 2015, 11:21:38 AM »



Um, these are families that have kids that go to school. Why would you want them to live away from families and schools?
Where exactly do you want them to live? What are you implying? That families that need to stay at a shelter are bad for families?

There are plenty of other locations for shelters away from families, schools and private homes.

Offline holyfrjole

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #30 on: January 30, 2015, 04:56:23 PM »

It's been said before but nobody has a problem with homeless shelters. I'm all for the homeless having a place to stay. But don't put a shelter in the middle of a quiet community and, in doing so, start to ruin the quiet community. There are plenty of other locations for shelters away from families, schools and private homes.


So you don't have a problem with homeless shelters, as long as they aren't near other families, schools, or homes? Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds? Do you realize how AWFUL that makes YOU sound?


We're all one disaster away from being any one of those families. Keep that in mind before you decide they aren't worthy enough to live among you.

Offline The Greek

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #31 on: February 01, 2015, 03:08:00 AM »

So you don't have a problem with homeless shelters, as long as they aren't near other families, schools, or homes? Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds? Do you realize how AWFUL that makes YOU sound?


We're all one disaster away from being any one of those families. Keep that in mind before you decide they aren't worthy enough to live among you.


You're an idiot, plain and simple.


If you want to be a Saint go and spend a day with these people at the Westway Motor Inn. Go spend one day with them and come back and tell me how terrible I am.


The homeless should have a place to stay. Unfortunately a large percentage of homeless are also drug addicts, alcoholics, ex-cons, mentally ill, career criminals or all of the above. That being the case, yes, it's totally understandable to keep them away from a family community.


Offline holyfrjole

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #33 on: February 12, 2015, 01:20:01 PM »

You're an idiot, plain and simple.


If you want to be a Saint go and spend a day with these people at the Westway Motor Inn. Go spend one day with them and come back and tell me how terrible I am.


The homeless should have a place to stay. Unfortunately a large percentage of homeless are also drug addicts, alcoholics, ex-cons, mentally ill, career criminals or all of the above. That being the case, yes, it's totally understandable to keep them away from a family community.


A large percentage of homeless are families who have been displaced due to poverty, disaster, and other life events that lead to a sudden change in their housing situation. I work with an indigent population, many of whom have been in the shelter system at some point. We're not talking about the mentally ill or the drug addicted, we're talking about families with children who can't afford a place to stay. Using your logic, they're not supposed to be in a "family community" either.


And I'm the idiot?


At least I can show compassion to my fellow man, something that, unfortunately, those who object to the Westway's usage as a homeless shelter lack.


I supposed you liked it much better when they charged by the hour. Very family oriented.

Offline 28Grand

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #34 on: February 12, 2015, 03:18:41 PM »
To follow up on this story, the convicted child molester placed in a shelter for families has been removed.


http://www.timesledger.com/stories/2015/6/costaspeech_tl_2015_02_06_q.html


holyfrjole, I'm in total agreement with you but I wanted to ask, do you have any insight why this individual was placed at the Westway? To me, it plays right into the fears of residents living near the shelter and promotes distrust between residents and the city. If Westway is supposed to house families, this was a very poor decision for everyone.

Offline holyfrjole

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Re: Westway Motor Inn-Homeless Shelter
« Reply #35 on: February 12, 2015, 10:23:07 PM »
To follow up on this story, the convicted child molester placed in a shelter for families has been removed.


http://www.timesledger.com/stories/2015/6/costaspeech_tl_2015_02_06_q.html


holyfrjole, I'm in total agreement with you but I wanted to ask, do you have any insight why this individual was placed at the Westway? To me, it plays right into the fears of residents living near the shelter and promotes distrust between residents and the city. If Westway is supposed to house families, this was a very poor decision for everyone.


Honestly, I don't know how this person ended up there. Keep in mind, there are families with young children living there, and it's not in the city's best interest to put anyone at risk, especially when they're relying on the city to provide safe housing.


The residents in the shelter deserve to be as safe as the residents outside of the shelter.


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