Despite Strong Security At School, Many Say Shelter Is Too Close For Comfort

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A homeless shelter for men that is located surprisingly close to a Queens public school has parents alarmed.

Outside P.S. 124, parents concerned about the nearby shelter sounded off on Monday.

“They’re just too close to this school. They hang out over here, they walk over here, they walk over the boulevard,” parent Debbie Capuano told CBS 2’s John Slattery.

Their concern is that the school is two blocks from the Skyway Shelter, a former motel, which now houses some 170 homeless men.

It was a year and a half ago that the shelter was converted from a family shelter to a men’s shelter. Now, among those residents, are 23 convicted sex offenders.

“You don’t put candy in front of a child and expect them not to eat it You don’t put honey in front of a bear and expect him to not take it,” parent Assunta Soldano said.

The shelter is on South Conduit Avenue next to two hotels.

Despite strong security at the school, the parents said the shelter should never have been located so close to young children.

“You’re putting sex offenders right in the location, a block and a half from over 1,200 students,” Soldano said.

The official response from the NYC Department of Homeless Services was a statement saying: “Homeless Services is under legal mandate to provide shelter to all homeless individuals or eligible families regardless of their criminal background, including sex offender status.”

“I know they have to live somewhere, but you don’t want them in your neighborhood,” Capuano said.

The parents said they are hoping that the property can be reverted back to what it was before — a family shelter.

Despite the concern, the parents admitted that since the homeless men moved into the center 18 months ago, not one incident has been reported.

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