Not Kewl: Luxury Apartment Residents Angry About Sharing Building With Homeless

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s the Kewl way of living in Kew Gardens, Queens.

The brand new luxury apartments, called The Kewl sit above the Comfort Inn hotel on 82nd Ave off Queens Boulevard.

Part of the hotel is now a city homeless shelter.

“I just moved two weeks back, so you are the first one to tell me,” one woman said.

The woman, who rents a penthouse with her husband and two young children said she might not have signed the lease if she knew homeless men would live in the same building.

“It’s 100 percent not safe, when the homeless people are around,” she said.

The Department of Homeless Services said it’s using the hotel as a temporary shelter because there aren’t any traditional shelters in the district to house the more than 300 registered homeless people in the area.

DHS said it reserved 42 of the 84 available hotel rooms to shelter single homeless men. So far 19 rooms are being used.

The city rents each room for as much as $5,400 a month.

A three bedroom penthouse is advertised at just more than $4,200.

District council member Karen Koslowitz said the city started moving the homeless in on Saturday, and only notified her on Friday night.

“We don’t know what their issues are. Are they just down and out, or do they issues that we don’t know about that we’re allowing to come into our communities?” she said.

DHS did not respond to a request for an on camera interview with CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez, and the apartment manager could not be reached for comment.

Joe Keane owns the property next door and said his homeless neighbors are already affecting his property value.

“I was trying to show an apartment I have for rent yesterday, and the people ran away because they found out about the homeless being in the building next door,” Keane said.

The city’s plan is to phase out hotel use for the homeless by 2023, which is a lifetime away for some people who have called the neighborhood home for years.

DHS said it offers communities the opportunity to suggest possible sites to house the homeless, but no other options were suggested for the Queens district.

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