MASPETH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — One day after New York’s Department of Homeless Services abandoned a plan to convert a Holiday Inn in Maspeth, Queens into a homeless shelter, the city started renting rooms for 30 employed homeless men.
DHS’ original plan to turn the hotel near Maurice Avenue and the Long Island Expressway into a shelter for 110 families was met with push-back from local residents and elected officials. Over the summer, hundreds gathered in front of the home of Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks to protest the plan.
“A hotel is not really the right place for homeless people,” one resident said. “They need more facilities that can help them get better and get back on their feet.”
DHS released a statement Monday, saying “Due to local opposition to housing homeless New Yorkers, we have not been able to convert this site into a full shelter at this time. We are renting rooms for employed single adults and providing onsite services and security.”
On Tuesday, Banks said homelessness is a “citywide problem, it’s got to be addressed as a citywide problem.”
“Well the 30 homeless men who are employed, who are getting shelter there now need a roof over their heads. And the fact that we placed them there last night is a testament to our resolve,” he told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb.
Banks said in a statement that the city is committed to implementing a plan to have shelters in every borough “so that New Yorkers seeking shelter can stay in their borough near schools, jobs, families and their community.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio released a statement echoing that sentiment.
“We didn’t back down on sheltering homeless New Yorkers in Maspeth and we won’t in other communities. We have a citywide moral and legal responsibility to shelter homeless New Yorkers,” he said.