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Local leaders “outraged”, “disappointed” by new homeless shelter brought without community knowledge or say

The Best Western at 38-05 Hunters Point Ave., now a homeless shelter for families

Oct. 2, 2017 By Nathaly Pesantez

Elected officials and community leaders were caught off guard last week when they learned that the Best Western on the border of Sunnyside/Long Island City is now a homeless shelter.

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D- Long Island City) said she was “outraged and disappointed” upon learning last week that the Best Western at 38-05 Hunters Point Ave. was “yet another hotel in Queens” to become a homeless shelter.

“I do not feel that our community was given adequate notice, nor time to prepare for this development,” Nolan wrote in a Sept. 29 letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio.”My office received no information as to which company will be managing the shelter, nor for how long the shelter will be operating.”

Similarly, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said he was disappointed that his office and the community did not have a say in or knowledge of the decision.

“While we can never demonize the homeless, many of which are children, I share in my community’s frustration of the process by which this decision was made,” Van Bramer said in a statement.

A spokesperson for the Department of Homeless Services said that the agency began using the site as a shelter on Sept. 26, the same day that the agency notified the community, including elected officials and the community board, about the site. The agency said that they are using all 82 rooms at the Hunters Point Ave. location to house homeless New Yorkers while the city works to phase out cluster sites (private apartments] as priority.

“We are using commercial hotels like this location as a bridge to provide shelter to homeless New Yorkers, including families with children, who would otherwise be turned out into the street,” the DHS spokesperson said.

Denise Keehan-Smith, chairperson of Community Board 2, said that the DHS informed the board on Tuesday that the site was opened as an emergency shelter and bringing in families the following day. According to the DHS, the city places people in homeless shelters under emergency situations when there is not enough shelter capacity on a given night.

“I get that the DHS needs shelter for the people,” Keehan-Smith said. “But it seems like we are becoming inundated with more than a fair share of homeless shelters, and I think that its very disappointing.” Keehan-Smith added that the DHS has told the board that they would get plenty of notification in advance regarding hotels as shelters.

Assemblywoman Nolan said the decision to open a new shelter was surprising given de Blasio’s plan to phase out homeless shelters and cluster sites, and criticized the city’s lack of transparency in the process which may cause opposition to build within the community.

“No one wants to see children homeless, but the administration’s approach makes it impossible for a community to accept a shelter,’ Nolan wrote. “They become a source of resentment for the communities in which they are placed…there is also the uncertain, possible negative impact on the residential areas in which they are located.”

The DHS, however, said that the community can have a say in the process by identifying locations where shelters would best fit in their area via community board meetings.

Keehan-Smith said that a representative from the DHS will be at the upcoming Community Board 2 meeting, which will be held at Sunnyside Community Services at 6:30 pm on Oct. 5.

The Hunters Point Avenue site, along with two other commercial hotels used as homeless shelters in Community Board 2, will be phased out as shelters by 2023 in accordance with the mayor’s plan, according to the DHS.

Letter to Mayor de Blasio, Best Western, 3805 Hunters Point Avenue, 9-29-17 by Queens Post on Scribd

email the author: [email protected]


Click for Comments 
Tina G

I think there needs to be a team of people to help the homeless, homeless people should not be kicked out, they should be given free daycare, job training, education, resume help, clothing, food, books, on-site health care, interviews with employers and much more, even a place to stay rent free until they get a job and can pay for it, especially if it’s hard to find a tenant for big spaces that are expensive and maybe more than one homeless person can live there under resident mentorship supervision to teach them how to take care of themselves and an apartment and how to respect each other as well as make friendships along the way, while exploring the neighborhood, programs and how to have fun and relax, making social skills better and anxiety a lot less. I feel like if people sponsored and helped other people do the best they can, then there will be just so much support for them and hope that a better future outside of homelessness is truly possible despite life’s setbacks.


Ha ha my post will be deeted again but you all know that the new-and-already-renamed Motel6 on Skillman is the next shelter.


No he didn’t. The city made a shady deal. As far as the city goes the councilman doesn’t need to be notified. Blame the city. JVB is out there doing what he can for us…stop bashing him and support him.


You’re probably one of those whiny liberals who gets upset when children are homeless.
If you think shelter is a human right, get out of Sunnyside!


You’re probably a huge jerkoff whose children and exwife hate. Keep pecking on your tiny computer machine with your tinfoil hat on…and I’ve probably been in Sunnyside longer than you’ve known it was on the map…


I been in Sunnyside since sidetracks was luigi’s pizza store.

I’m a big tough guy who gives homeless families a hard time. You aren’t tough like me. Deal with it.

Oil Beef Hooked

Thank You to all who have the courage to stand up to the homeless families.

It takes a lot of guts to take on the very powerful homeless children.

Very brave of you to make sure homeless children know that Sunnyside residents have guns.



That’s a nice, vague, cryptically worded threat at the end of your comment. Especially wonderful to read after yesterday’s massacre in Las Vegas – so tasteful!

The clear distaste for the homeless in your comment comes as no particular surprise. I am, however, surprised you didn’t tell our new neighbors about your fabulous reverse commute!

Nice job, Rikki, you’ve outdone yourself!


I’m with Marie J and Ricki. Homeless have no place in Sunnyside … Especially homeless families and children. They will no doubt break in to our cars.

Wish we had more tough guys like rikki and tell these homeless children to get out of here.

Joe at Berkley

Roxy.- The so called homeless family crisis is a sham. A scam for DeBlasio to scam the tax payers of NYC out of billions of dollars.


Indeed – deblasio has hired actors to dress as homeless family and check in to these 5 star hotels. False flag. Thanks for the head’s up.


Good article. The homeless are definitely in co-hoots with old DeBlasio. I bet their lighting cigars wth hundered doller bills.


this neighborhood was affordable before the rezoning. the rezoning is creating this problem so politicians should shut their mouths. they KNEW this was coming and that the city was not going to do a thing about it

Kramden's Delicious Marshall

People should move to the affordable neighborhood in New York instead … remind me where that is by the way 🙂

Marie J

Of course no knowledge. Van Bramer let the hotel shelter take place on Queens Blvd and 53rd Street. Mayor is walking all over Van Bramer’s District and not at the Holiday Inn area in Maspeth. Time not to vote out both the Mayor and Van Bramer in November.


there is no one running against JVB which is very very sad – but he takes all the contributions that is for sure


The only solution to this growing problem is rental subsidies for homeless that have a source of income this homeless issue is going to continue to grow rents are way to high


The people of Sunnyside need to share the outrage and go to the motels and directly tell the homeless families and children they are not welcome in this neighborhood.

They need to go somewhere else!


Is this an indirect bailout of some of the NYC hotel industry caused the AirBnb? Doesn’t these hotels receive something for housing homeless?

Not In My Neighborhood!!!

Yeah!! Send them right to hell!!! Or the bottom of the ocean!! Homeless people are trash!!! Not here in my perfect, dirty, stuck in the 1950’s neighborhood, right? Nope!!! No compassion from sunnysiders, damnit!! Let them live under the overpass of the LIRR or under the LIE!!! Keep away!!! Not seen or heard, because in my perfect world, homelessness doesn’t exist!!!


The fact that the likes and dislikes on this comment are nearly at an even split is very telling


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