Queens Residents, Politicians Turn Out En Mass to Blast Plan for Homeless Shelter

What to Know

  • More than 1,100 residents of Maspeth showed up to denounce plans for a homeless shelter at a hotel in their neighborhood
  • They say the area already has enough homeless shelters and that the Holiday Inn Express is too close to parks and schools
  • The city says it has an obligation to house people and that the shelter will be safe

A plan to convert a Queens Holiday Inn Express into a homeless shelter got people heated once again on Wednesday night.

Residents rented out an event space to hold a meeting in Maspeth. More than 1,100 people showed up to blast the plan and more than 50 people signed up to comment.

“I don't know what planet you come from, [but] you're taking my tax dollars and all these good people's tax dollars and using it against us.”

The large crowd of angry residents booed, shouted and turned their backs on Dept. of Homeless Services Commissioner Steven Banks.

State Assemblywoman Margaret Markey also booed him from the podium. 

Banks tried to stress that the city has an obligation to provide housing and that the facility would be safe.

Queens City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley and other lawmakers filed a lawsuit in New York Supreme Court against the city’s actions.

“It is illegal for the Dept. of Homeless Services to house families, including adult families, in shelters that have no kitchen facilities,” Crowley said.

“Three schools, two parks within a quarter of a mile—it’s a bad location,” community board member Michael Locascio said.

Opponents say a march to city hall and Gracie Mansion are in the works. 

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