August 23, By Christian Murray
Homeless families have been moving into a Woodside hotel in recent weeks yet the Department of Homeless Services has notified no one.
The Quality Inn, located at 53-05 Queens Boulevard, is being used as a temporary homeless shelter. In the past two months, families have arrived without the DHS informing elected officials, Community Board 2 or the public at large.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said he was never formally notified of the administration’s decision to move homeless families into the hotel. It was only when he heard from a constituent that he uncovered that it was being used as a temporary shelter for the homeless.
“The administration’s handling of this has been outrageous and has been botched from the start,” Van Bramer said. “I have been livid with the administration in the way the have tried to sneak this in. It is not the way the these things should be done.”
He said the de Blasio administration didn’t tell anyone that the temporary shelter was in operation. He said that de Blasio is ultimately responsible for this.
“Whether he is making the call or not, the buck stops with the mayor and that is what the big job means,” Van Bramer said.
Van Bramer said that the Quality Inn consists of 72 rooms and more than half the units are currently occupied by homeless families. He was unable to provide a more specific number.
Van Bramer said he was assured it would not be a permanent shelter and that it would be used on a temporary basis. He said he would be monitoring it closely to ensure that the numbers of homeless residents did not grow.
“There are currently no current plans to convert the Quality Inn Woodside into a homeless shelter,” according to the DHS in a statement. “The DHS is currently renting some rooms in this commercial hotel to help meet its legal obligation to provide shelter to homeless New Yorkers who would otherwise be sleeping on the street.”
The Mayor’s office did not respond for comment.
Van Bramer said he has no plans to protest outside the Quality Inn. “There are young mothers and children who are going through tough times. We do have to show empathy.”
Although the biggest sticking point with Van Bramer was the lack of notification, he said that a homeless shelter does not belong at the location. He said that there are several shelters on Queens Boulevard.
“We need to avoid clusters of shelters and avoid overburdening our communities.”