Tag Archives: Baisley Park

Bill would disperse homeless shelters evenly throughout each borough


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Queens shelters may soon be finding new homes.

Councilmembers Ruben Wills and Leroy Comrie started work in 2011 on a bill that would disperse homeless shelters evenly throughout each borough. Wills said research revealed that Community Board (CB) 12 contains 10 of the 18 shelters in all of Queens. CB 12 includes Jamaica, Hollis, St. Albans, Springfield Gardens, Baisley Park, Rochdale Village and South Jamaica.

“The DHS [Department of Homeless Services] is clustering all of these shelters,” Wills said. “All of these undesirable land uses are in certain community boards. We perceived that to be a huge problem.”

Under the bill, Wills and Comrie proposed limiting the number of shelters in any community board to one-third of the borough’s total.

Wills said placing shelters in one specific type of community, such as CB 12, is not in response to any increase in the homeless population.

“It is not fair that southeast Queens has the majority of homeless shelters in the borough,” Comrie said.

For the existing shelters, Wills suggested they make relocation plans so they and their residents are prepared to move when any site’s lease expires. He said it was important to put shelters in areas with convenient transportation.

The council pair proposed an additional bill under which the DHS would determine whether any shelter resident is a sex offender. If so, the department would notify the local community board, councilmember and police precinct. The department would also conduct mental health and criminal background assessments on all adults entering shelters. If passed, the bill will go into effect on January 1, 2014.

 

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Community comes out to pray, walk for peace


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Johann Hamilton

JOHANN HAMILTON

Residents of Queens refuse to take crime in stride.

Dozens of New Yorkers gathered in front of Baisley Park in Rochdale to participate in the first of many prayer walks over the summer. The walks are intended to help end violence.

Residents from all over the city participated in the program, headed by Reverend Phil Craig of the Greater Springfield Community Church as well as politicians and organizations including the Women’s Committee of the National Action Network and the NYPD’s Explorer program.

“We’re going to make this at least an annual event,” Craig said at the Saturday, July 13 rally. “I think this is a really good thing for the community and the community agrees. We’re going to walk around this entire complex and pray for peace.”

“There’s too much killing and prostitution,” he added. “We’re gathering here so that we can get Jesus into our communities and get the enemy out.”

Saturday’s walk went through Rochdale Village, which Craig explained has seen a high amount of drug-related activity along with prostitution and robberies.

Councilmember and public advocate candidate Letitia James also participated in the walk. She came from a similar event in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

“If you want to change your life and the lives of others today, then march,” she told the attendees. “March on behalf of children and their mothers. March on behalf of schools, and march so that little boys and girls can know that they can one day be the next president of the borough of Queens, or the United States.”

The prayer walks are open to all. No RSVP is required. More information can be found at the Greater Springfield Church’s website, www.greaterspringfieldchurch.org/nan.html.

 

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