For over a year now, the community wrestled with the non-profit Samaritan Village’s proposal to convert an abandoned factory on 78-16 Cooper Ave. in Glendale into a homeless shelter for 125 families, with a proposed $27-million contract with the city’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS). For the residents who attended the meeting at the Christ the King High School, the shelter posed a threat to the community’s welfare. The meeting was hosted by Community Board 5 and members of the Samaritan Village and the DHS were invited to hear out residents’ thoughts on the proposed homeless shelter.
“These facilities have drunks, drug addicts, the mentally ill and pedophiles,” one Glendale resident said. “It would be inappropriate for them to be around our women and children.”
All 33 residents who signed up to speak were against putting a homeless shelter in their area. Residents’ concerns ranged from the lack of public transportation in the area and the strain that an additional 125 families with children under 18 would put on the area’s infrastructure.
“I don’t think they should be placed in our schools,” a local schoolteacher said and she then went on to say that homeless children are more troublesome. “One hundred and twenty five children, if that’s to be expected, with behavioral problems are going to destroy our children and our neighborhood.”
Politicians representing the area also attended the meeting. Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, State Sen. Joseph Addabbo and Assemblyman Mike Miller all echoed residents’ desire to not have a homeless shelter in the neighborhood.
After a formal proposal was submitted by Samaritan Village in May, 2011, the homeless services department began investigating the site. They have analyzed 70 locations, 16 in Queens, and 54 in other boroughs since then.
Chris Miller, a spokesman for the department, said that they are still in the selection process and that they haven’t settled on any particular location.
“This is nowhere near a done deal,” he said.