The MVV Task Force, the power behind the fight against homeless shelters in neighborhoods, especially in Queens, which has been a dumping ground of epic proportions recently, held a rally this past Saturday (12.3.16) in Brooklyn in front of the home of major hypocrite Steven Banks, Commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services, put in office by the not trusted Mayor deBlasio. Take note, neither of these two officials have homeless shelters in their community, let alone on their block, but like most officials want the hard working task payers, who pay their salaries, to do all the heavy lifting and make the sacrifices. Sacrifices that have been turning neighborhoods into homeless villages with the assorted problems that go with such establishment run by unscrupulous business people (like former City Speaker Christine Quinn, who has got into the “homeless business” with her company WIN & elected officials to make profits off of the homeless). She had he nerve to say in an article (http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20160810/BLOGS04/160809844/christine-quinn-new-yorkers-need-to-get-over-themselves-and-welcome-homeless-shelters) that New Yorkers need to get over themselves when it comes to homeless shelters being put on their block, but ask this hypocrite how many shelters in her neighborhood or on her block and the answer will be ZERO. But yet she wants US to take on the burden, just like the Jamaica community has not only taken on the burden of all these homeless shelters, but the waste business (Royal Waste in Downtown Jamaica) and thug auto body shops who have taken over Merrick Blvd and surrounding streets/sidewalks with NO REINFORCEMENT from NYPD and not help from the local elected officials of this community, who seem to also be somewhat silent on the homeless shelter dumping as well.
At the rally were different organizations and representatives of various groups including those from Jamaica and SE Queens, who have finally gotten the wake-up call on this horrible issues and policy of dumping homeless into unfit hotels and causing a HUGE development of hotel building in areas (READ: JAMAICA) that would not normally have hotels, knowing full way that down the road these will be turned into shelters for profit. While the questionable Queens BP, Melinda Katz, talks up Jamaica with the Jamaica Now Action Plan and talks about all the hotel development to make Jamaica the “Airport Village”, she purposely forgets to mention that most of these hotels will be turned into homeless shelters in the future (already several have done just that in the last couple years). I mean why do you think you are seeing small hotel development going on in isolated areas and on blocks with residential housing.
For you folks in Jamaica and SE Queens, WAKE UP. With over 30 homeless shelters, adult homes, supportive housing in our area, more are to come. Already a proposal is in the works with the House of Prayer Church and the FOR PROFIT company, Transition One LLC to put a shelter with single men (many parolees) above the church located at 91-20 146 St next to a Day Care Center and across the street from the LIRR Stuphin Station (https://cleanupjamaicaqueens.wordpress.com/2016/11/26/is-this-how-to-revitalize-downtown-jamaica-another-proposed-homeless-shelter-next-to-a-daycare-center-across-from-sutphin-lirr/). And in the latest Jamaica/SE Queens homeless shelter debacle, Community Board 8 (which shocks me) and Councilman Rory Lancman have approved a proposal to turn the historic former Jamaica Hills Hospital, on Parson Blvd, blocks from Hillside Ave, into affordable housing with a “supportive housing” component to house “homeless single men”, “mentally ill” and “drug addicts”. This would have a HUGE negative impact not only on the Jamaica Hills area, but because of the proximity to the high school, downtown Jamaica & Rufus King Park, will have a negative impact on the downtown area, which already has its share of problematic shelters and drug treatment places (https://cleanupjamaicaqueens.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/historic-jamaica-hills-hospital-may-be-affordable-housing-with-supporting-housing-sounds-like-some-ghetto-project-homeless-shelter-to-many/). Ask Councilman Lancman, who seems to be the driving force behind this, how many shelters in his neighborhood and on his block.
Below are videos from the rally including Rafael Vargas from South Jamaica and statements by others including Community Board 12 Adrienne Adams.
Also ask your elected officials exactly WHAT they are doing on this issue.
So get more of seeing this:
Proposed future homeless shelters in Jamaica area:
Courtesy of MVV Task Force:
From MMV Task Force:
Juniper Park Civic Association Press Statement by Robert Holden, President
As of this morning, the NYC Department of Social Services reported a total of 60,579 people living in the NYC shelter system. This figure is much higher than the day Commissioner Banks took over the office a year ago. Commissioner Steven Banks was hired to stem New York’s homeless crisis but IT DID NOT HAPPEN.
In an interview back in 2007, Commissioner Banks told the NY Times “Homelessness is a horrible symbol of a failure of a whole broad range of government policies.” Today’s homeless crisis clearly shows a complete failure of the city to uphold a “right to shelter” under the State Constitution. Just like in the 1980’s, hotel shelters such as Maspeth’s Holiday Inn Express do not work — they are expensive, they are not designed to function as shelters, and they have neither the adequate security to protect, nor the social services to help the residents.
Commissioner Banks’ homeless policy is turning New York City back to the dependency capital of America. There are better solutions to homelessness than welfare programs and he hasn’t let on. We believe as a homeless advocate, Commissioner Banks is making the problem worse. We are requesting him to step down as Commissioner of Dept. of Social Services, and we ask the Mayor to find a competent replacement so the Dept. of Social Services can be led by merit and not by ideology.
West 90s/West 100s Neighborhood Coalition, Inc. Press Statement by Aaron Biller, Co-Chair
Today Upper West Siders stand united with our neighbors from other communities across the City in protest of the homeless policies which lay waste to the lives of the homeless who don’t belong in hotels, lay waste to taxpayers dollars and lay waste to quality of life in our neighborhoods. It is fitting that this protest brings the message from hard-working taxpayers to the doorstep of Steven Banks, the HRA Commissioner whose life work has been to grow the ranks of the homeless to a point far beyond what the City’s coffers and social safety net can support. Mr. Banks is both the architect and overseer of a broken system. Fixing this system should start with Mr. Banks’ stepping down. The City’s Social Services system is so desperately broken that, in resorting again to the failed strategy of hotels as shelters, it is employing tactics that even Mr. Banks had long opposed when he previously headed the Legal Aid Society.
Queens Community Board 12 Press Statement by Adrienne Adams, Chairperson
Southeast Queens has unfairly been targeted as a dumping ground for shelters and supportive housing developments for decades. The latest is the proposal of a halfway house sheltering up to 35 transient men next door to a day care center! The Office of City Planning reports that 40% of facilities for problem populations in Queens are located within the districts of Community Board 12 with no relief in sight. This represents an unfair, excessive concentration in one specific area of Queens.
The Administration is spending a considerable amount of time and resources to revitalize Downtown Jamaica however, the continued use of Jamaica and Southeast Queens to house the City’s problem populations could prevent the positive growth that has been promised to this community.
Elmhurst United Press Statement by Jennifer Chu, President
Elmhurst United continues to oppose the use of hotels as homeless shelters. DHS has an annual budget of $1.6B, the majority of which is used to pay unscrupulous landlords and shelter operators to keep the homeless stuck in shelters. As the number of homeless continues to rise, Mayor de Blasio and DHS Commissioner Steven Banks need to stop throwing money at shelters and start to focus on reducing homelessness.
Warehousing the homeless in makeshift hotel shelters is only a stop gap, and doesn’t address the causes of the growing numbers of homeless in NYC. We need real, effective, permanent solutions to the homelessness crisis, such as repealing the Right to Shelter law, revamping of NYCHA public housing, and developing vacant, abandoned properties.
Coalitions of Concerned Citizens of South Jamaica Press Statement by Katherine James, spokesperson
We, The Coalition of Concerned Citizens of South Jamaica join the towns of Maspeth, So. Ozone Park and other Queens communities whom have raised their voices in opposition to the proliferation of homeless shelters, existing hotels and newly constructed ones to convert into homeless shelters for profit.
We have been a diverse community for decades. Residents from many cultures have integrated into our community where residents and stakeholders work hard to maintain the integrity and character of our neighborhoods.
Therefore, we must take exception to Mayor de Blasio Administration’s continuing the practice of his predecessor to encourage the business of placing shelters contiguous to residential homes.
We are not insensitive to the needs of individuals whom find themselves living in these facilities but these shelters have not had a successful partnership with the communities where they are placed.
Our communities need essential services to the existing residents not shelters.