Glendale residents are outraged to learn that a proposed homeless shelter could house criminals and sex offenders.
The revelation came after the would-be shelter’s operators, Samaritan Village, penned a letter in response to local elected officials’ concerns. The nonprofit group is proposing the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) turn an abandoned factory at 78-16 Cooper Avenue into transitional housing for 125 families.
“DHS has both a mandate and an obligation to provide shelter to any eligible homeless person or family, regardless of criminal background,” the letter said. “The Sex Offender Registration Act does not restrict where a registered sex offender may live.”
There has already been a collective opposition from business owners, civic and political leaders and residents since last year when the shelter was just a rumor, and this latest response didn’t sit well with the community.
“The fact that they are mixing families with sex offenders should be a red flag to this community and an eye-opener to all those officials who want to tread gently,” said Kathy Masi, chair of the Glendale Civic Association. “Samaritan Village could never be a good neighbor. Their response to us is flawed with hidden innuendoes and unreasonable projections.”
Samaritan Village is seeking a five-year contract with a four year renewal if the DHS approves their proposal, according to the letter.
“I am against this proposal because I believe the site, on a number of levels, is not suited to accommodate and serve the intended purpose,” said Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi.
There will be on-site security 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 75 cameras will be installed inside and around the site and there will be a 9 p.m. curfew, according to the letter.
The organization wants to establish a community advisory board with neighborhood representatives, civic leaders and NYPD community affairs. They will also provide job training, GED instruction, homework assistance and other services.
To address the lack of subways in the area, two vans will be provided to transport residents to appointments and public transportation.
DHS is currently reviewing Samaritan Village’s proposal.
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