NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some residents in Queens say they’re going to take the New York City Department of Homeless Services to task for its plans to bring a new men’s shelter to their neighborhood.
They fear a very different kind of housing could stand in the middle of family homes on 101st Avenue near 86th Street in Ozone Park.
“It’s gonna be a real big problem for us,” Ozone Park resident Angela Nocerino said. “It’s gonna be really bad, really bad for the community.”
The department wouldn’t confirm its shelter proposal, but a document obtained by CBS2 shows a letter sent to elected officials earlier this month explaining the plan to create a transitional housing facility for 113 men facing homelessness and mental health challenges. Residents say it would be far too close to several schools.
“It’s scaring a lot of people,” Ozone Park resident Sam Esposito said. “I think people with children are considering if they should live here or not.”
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-32) helped organize a town hall meeting last week with the city, where hundreds of people voiced their concerns.
“It’s a slap in the face for us,” Ulrich told CBS2. “We want to help the homeless, but at the same time don’t appreciate the fact that the mayor and DHS want to railroad a hundred men with serious issues into the heart of a residential community.”
As Ulrich and local leaders work to find a solution, Esposito is leading a neighborhood effort to sue the agency. A DHS spokesperson wouldn’t comment on the pending lawsuit or proposal itself, but the letter obtained by CBS2 said the department would accept ideas for different locations in the neighborhood so long as it’s available for use in December.
Some residents have also said they’d be open to having families stay in the neighborhood instead of single men, but only time will tell who may end up there if anyone at all.