NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A massive crowd turned out in Maspeth, Queens Thursday evening, as neighbors refused to see a hotel turned into a homeless shelter.
With nearly 60,000 people currently in homeless shelters across the city, officials said they must turn to hotels, like the Holiday Inn located in Maspeth off the Long Island Expressway, as an alternative. They want to use the 110-room facility on 55th Road as an adult-only shelter.
Video shared on Facebook showed a throng of residents looking to voice an opinion on the planned shelter at a town hall meeting in Maspeth.
Residents said there is no transportation the proposed shelter, and the shelter could bring property values down.
Speaking to CBS2 last week, community board member Michael LoCascio pointed to the area’s residential section, schools and parks — just blocks away — and problems at a shelter in nearby Elmhurst.
“There are sex offenders there. There are criminals there. There’s a lot of problems outside there,” LoCascio said last week.
City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-30th) said last week the hotel is not a home for the homeless.
“It doesn’t make sense to put people in hotels without any kitchens; without any resources that families really need and deserve,” Crowley said.
The Mayor’s office said nothing is finalized yet, and the city will consider any alternate locations the Community Board comes up with. But if a shelter does open in the Holiday Inn Express, it will not be for at least 60 days.
If the hotel were to be converted into a shelter, no part of it would go on being used as a hotel.