You are reading

LIC Homeless Shelters Spark Two Thousand 911 Complaints in the Past Year

Pam’s Place, a women’s shelter located at 40-03 29th St., where there were more than 1,385 911 calls in the past 12 months (Photo: Queens Post)

Feb. 25, 2022 By Christian Murray

Many Dutch Kills and Queensbridge residents have been calling for assistance in dealing with quality-of-life issues stemming from the local homeless shelters, according to Queens Community Board 1.

Florence Koulouris, the district manager for Community Board 1, told board members at their monthly meeting Feb. 15 that there have been about two thousand 911 calls over the past year from Dutch Kills and Queensbridge residents regarding incidents at the surrounding shelters.

There are several shelters in the Dutch Kills/Queensbridge area–all within close proximity to one another.

“Our local residents have seen remarkable events occurring… and are fearful for their safety, due to the lack of desperately needed services for the [shelter] residents placed in hotels,” Koulouris said.

She said that there have been complaints about public defecation, urination, intimidation, sexual activity, drug use—and that there are video tapes of homeless residents involved in trespassing and theft.

She gave a breakdown of the number of complaints concerning shelter residents in the Dutch Kills/Queensbridge section of Long Island City for the 12-month period through Feb.1, 2022.

Koulouris said that there were 107 911 calls concerning residents of the Quality Inn LIC, located at 30-03 40th Ave.; 219 911 calls pertaining to the residents at the Sleep Inn Hotel at 38-77 13th St.; 1,385 911 calls—leading to 51 arrests—at Pam’s Place, a women’s shelter located at 40-03 29th St., which opened in 2015 and was the former Verve Hotel.

At the Vue Hotel, located at 40-47 22nd St., there were 240 911 calls, leading to two arrests. The data, Koulouris said, was provided by the NYPD 114th Precinct.

Koulouris told board members that the complaints at Pam’s Place have jumped significantly since the DHS removed its “peace officers.” The peace officers, a unit of DHS, provided additional security. The peace officers, however, vacated most shelters more than a year ago due to budget constraints.

George Stamatiades, chair of the Dutch Kills Civic Association, said that residents in the area have been lodging complaints but have gotten nowhere.

“We have been complaining to DHS but it falls on deaf ears,” Stamatiades told the Queens Post.

He said that DHS is just warehousing people at the hotels and not taking care of the medical needs of the residents.

“Many of these people need medical attention and psychological help…and they are not addressing the problem,” Stamatiades said. “When someone walks down the street yelling ‘go f$$K yourself’ for no reason or assaults people then that person needs help.”

Stamatiades said that residents and local business people are concerned for their safety. Furthermore, he said, DHS needs to address the issue since it is straining police resources at a time when crime is on the rise.

“The police are being stretched so thin…do they really need to respond to all these 911 calls.”

The shelters do have private security, but Stamatiades said that they have not been effective in combatting problems outside the facilities.

The complaints and concerns are not new. In fact, on July 27, 2020, local leaders from the Queensbridge Tenant Association, Ravenswood Tenant Association and various business groups wrote a joint letter with the Dutch Kills Civic Association to Mayor Bill de Blasio expressing the same concerns.

“Since the beginning of this pandemic, our neighborhood has seen an unprecedented increase in homeless activity and hotel-converted homeless shelters,” the letter reads. “Within the past few months, we have personally witnessed and heard from our neighbors that many LIC residents, employees, businesses and patrons have been subject to solicitation, aggressive panhandling and harassment that threatens the safety of our community.”

The letter also argued that the shelter residents were not getting the supportive services they needed.

The Department of Homeless Services did not respond to several e-mails over the past week asking how it was addressing residents’ concerns.

The Fairfield Hotel, located at 29-27 40th Rd (Photo: Queens Post)

The Dutch Kills area also includes two hotel sites for individuals who have been recently incarcerated— known as re-entry sites. One site is the Fairfield Hotel, located at 29-27 40th Rd., where there have been 414 911 calls–leading to six arrests–according to Koulouris.

Information pertaining to the other location was not available.

These sites are not homeless shelters, and the facilities are overseen by the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.

A spokesperson for the MOCJ said that the agency takes the safety of its resident and the public seriously.

“All of our re-entry service sites take the safety of those we are serving and the communities in which we operate as a top priority,” the MOCJ spokesperson said. “Contracted security is present at each site, while the programming we provide focuses on supporting individuals through services for jobs, mental and physical health, addiction recovery, permanent housing, and other issues.”

Council Member Julie Won, who took office last month and represents the area, said that she is trying to work with homeowners, renters and the shelter residents to address these concerns, while noting that, “No one person deserves or garners more respect than any other individual in our neighborhood.”

“I have been working in partnership with the Mayor and Comptroller to ensure our city’s taxpayer dollars are funding local human services organizations. Our local human service providers do the work on the ground to proactively prevent evictions, intervene in times of crisis for public safety, and provide substance abuse and mental health services to those at risk. I will continue to work with all of our community members to ensure that everyone feels safe and cared for in our district.”

Stamatiades, meanwhile, says that he will just continue to try to bring residents’ concerns to the city’s attention.

“All we can do is try to keep their feet to the fire and hope one day they will listen.”

email the author: [email protected]

18 Comments

Click for Comments 
Jill

With so many 911 calls cops should be patrolling the area. Our police Commissioner and mayor are all talk. Cops in nyc are turning into badge wearing desk jobs and getting good at hula hooping from local evens at public housing. I now agree with defund the police. Hire armed private security guards with the money.

7
2
Reply
Lucky number 7 train

Wow! who could imagine that would happen. I guess thats why maybe people dont want that in their neighborhood that they work so hard to live in? I’m shocked next your gonna tell me socialism doesn’t work. where is my utopia

13
Reply
LIC Direct

Blame Jimmy Van Bramer!!!! And search who has donated to his campaigns – his war chest is huge waiting for a slot to open up so he can run for any public office. The homeless hotel not for profit syndicate has filled Jimmy’s coffers. Watch closely and wait for Kathy Nolan’s endorsement.

12
2
Reply
Gardens Watcher

Cathy Nolan is not endorsing JVB. In fact, she just endorsed a terrific woman for her seat Assembly district 37: Johanna Carmona.

Reply
Correct me if I wrong.

Julie Won lives in Phipps? That is designed to for affordable rents. She’s making good money now, Shouldn’t she move out so a family in poverty can take the next step up the ladder….

18
2
Reply
Enuf with excuses

Stop making excuses for the crazy lady
I’ve had it with her and her junk
Health dept must move her into a hospital

13
2
Reply
Margarita

The city needs to hire more 911 operators. A bilingual 911 operating system would also be a plus.

2
4
Reply
Anonymous

“No one person deserves or garners more respect than any other individual in our neighborhood.” famous last words from an elected official.

10
1
Reply
Casey

Yes. She is right. We all should be treated equally and with respect regardless of gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, race and ethnicity and economic status. Do you not watch the news? Do you not see what is happening in EU. Africans trying to flee the Ukraine are not being allowed in bordering countries and being sent to the back of the line. I welcome everyone to my neighborhood. And no i do not mind Lele in Sunnyside!!

2
12
Reply
Bill

Typical racism by African Americans. The crisis in Ukraine has nothing to do with Black people yet your unintelligible letter somehow inserts Black people into the issue. I mind you in this neighborhood. Take Lele and leave.

4
2
Reply
LIC Direct

You can thank Jimmy “Photo Op” Van Bramer for the homeless shelters. His sitting on a treasure chest of money donated to him over the years. For sure he’ll be running for some public office just remember it’s his fault we are flooded with homeless shelter in our nabe.

13
1
Reply
Gardens Watcher

Actually it was De Blasio who moved the homeless into the local hotels, reportedly without the knowledge of council members.

8
1
Reply
Vicky

You voted for this now deal with it. Those who opposed the homeless shelters opening all over WQs were deemed by the media and local politicians as racists and old NIMBY folks. Few protested because they were too scared to be labeled. Voters in our area vote for people who do mind shelters and homeless in their district.

10
1
Reply
John Z

N this is why the city is terrible. It’s not the homeless people. It’s the lack of accountability on the people who are supposed to do their various jobs. This includes the elected officials

10
Reply
ABoondy

i dont see why each resident cant sue the city for negligence and intentionally putting them and their families in harms way.

11
1
Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Popular places where you can watch the Super Bowl in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Op-Ed: This Year’s State Budget Must Prioritize Climate, Jobs, and Justice for New York

Op-Ed, Jan. 30, By Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

In a time of rampant economic inequality and environmental injustice, it is easy to feel defeated.  Here in Queens and across New York State, however, communities are organizing for a better future. New Yorkers from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences are proving that we can build community, organize, and create a future that reflects our shared values.