Group Heads To Commissioner’s House To Protest Maspeth, Queens Homeless Shelter Plan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Another massive protest was held Thursday night against a planned homeless shelter in Maspeth, Queens.

The latest protest took place on the quiet Sherman Street in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn.

Nearly 200 people gathered in front of the home of Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks – calling for solutions, and not shelters, in the growing homeless crisis.

Officials said they are still negotiating a plan for a shelter at the Holiday Inn Express in Maspeth.

But the building owner claimed he was backing away from the agreement. Last week, the hotel announced via Twitter that it “will not be converting to a shelter as suggested,” and “will continue to operate as a hotel.”

City Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley (D-30th) said last week that the Holiday Inn Express franchise had told her it will not accept a deal with the city to be converted into a homeless shelter.

“I can assure you I will be looking into this matter very thoroughly and will keep you updated every step of the way,” Crowley said in a Facebook post.

The idea of turning the hotel into a homeless shelter drew widespread opposition in the neighborhood.

At a community meeting late last month, residents turned their backs as Banks too the stage.

With nearly 60,000 people currently in homeless shelters across the city, officials said they must turn to hotels like the Holiday Inn Express – located off the Long Island Expressway – as an alternative. They had wanted to use the 110-room facility on 55th Road as an adult-only shelter.

Crowley said last week that her office filed a lawsuit against the city and Commissioner Banks.

Residents voiced concerns about the location — how and why it was chosen, crime, property values and those who would be moving into the shelter.

The shelter had been slated to open on Oct. 1, but according to the commissioner, the official contract had not been signed as of Aug. 31.

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