Tag Archives: homeless

Glendale food pantry runs out of food


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz


The cupboard is bare at a Glendale food pantry.

The Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church is all out of food for Glendale’s needy, and the two women who run the pantry are asking residents to donate what they can.

“Everyday we hope people will come bring us food,” said Nancy Baer,  who along with Sister Margaret Raibaldi, runs the food pantry Monday through Thursday out of the church’s basement.

“This pantry has evolved over the years but our goal has always been to help the hungry,” Raibaldi said. “We never let people leave here hungry.”

While the church’s food stock often goes through low and high cycles, Baer and Sister Raibaldi said that this week’s low is worrying for them. They serve more than 100 families every week and a large group of single men, all of whom are from Glendale.

“We offer them what we can,” said Sister Raibaldi, but for this week what they have in store is a few pounds of whole wheat pasta and some canned vegetables that won’t make enough for one family meal.

The Catholic organization Knights of Columbus provides the Glendale pantry with hundreds of pounds of food during major holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving but for the rest of the year, the pantry depends on donations from the community and the nearby St. Pancras Church in Ridgewood.

Among the crowd favorites are macaroni and cheese and tuna.

“And we definitely wouldn’t turn away a chicken,” Baer said.

Anyone who wishes to donate can call (718) 821-3285.

 

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Elmhurst residents say no to homeless shelter at Pan-American Hotel


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos by Salvatore Licata

Updated: 6/19/2014 2:17 p.m. 

SALVATORE LICATA

Hundreds of protestors flocked to the Pan-American Hotel in Elmhurst to push back on the city’s initiative to house more homeless families in the neighborhood.

“We must step up to the plate now and stop this from going any further,” Roe Daraio, president of the nonprofit Communities of Maspeth & Elmhurst Together Inc. (COMET) Civic Association and organizer of the Tuesday protest, said to the crowd. “We must call to attention the issue of homelessness and how the city is choosing to deal with it.”

In a plan that is supported by Mayor Bill de Blasio, nonprofit Samaritan Village proposed the Pan-American Hotel, located at 7900 Queens Blvd., to house 200 homeless people, including the 36 families already residing there.

This is the fourth homeless shelter in Elmhurst and for residents of the community, it is one too many.

“They did this without any input from the community,” Hilda Chu, one of the protestors, said. “We have three already and now they want to add a fourth. This is so unfair to us.”

Councilman Daniel Dromm addressed the crowd during the June 17 protest and said he was disappointed by the Department of Homeless Services’ (DHS) lack of communication with local officials. He was outraged that he was given no advance notice that the closed-down hotel would now house homeless families, but said protestors must act civilly in their protest and engage in a discussion to figure out the best way to combat the situation.

“Elmhurst is overburdened [with the homeless],” Dromm said. “It is bad policy to bring that many needy people into one place.”

Pan-American Hotel officials declined to comment on the subject.

The DHS will provide the families with three meals a day until the agency can move them to an alternate shelter, the agency said.

“As the number of families with children residing in temporary, emergency shelter grows, we must consider all available options to address our capacity needs and meet our legally mandated right to shelter,” the DHS said in a statement. “In the short term, DHS is using the Queens Boulevard facility to provide essential shelter and supportive services to families with children.”

Advocates previously claimed that both the mayor and City Comptroller Scott Stringer approved the plan, but Stringer’s office said he only approved payments for family shelters across the city but had not weighed in on any specific location.

“[Stringer] believes that communication and adequate community notification are critical parts of this process,”  said a Stringer spokesman.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Thursday: Sunshine early followed by cloudy skies this afternoon. High 42. Winds WSW at 10 to 15 mph. Thursday night Cloudy skies this evening will become partly cloudy after midnight. Low 36. Winds SSW at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Live Music Thursdays at Rest-au-Rant

Join Matt Turk and Gary Schreiner to listen to live music and enjoy some delicious food at the same time at Rest-au-Rant on 35th Avenue. Free. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Homeland Security to cut NYPD bomb detection funding after Obama says NYC nuclear blast bigger concern than Russia

The NYPD may be forced to make do as the Department of Homeland Security announces massive budget cuts to its bomb detection program. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Federal government proposes new safety standards for train doors

The government Tuesday proposed new safety standards for railroad train doors partly due to accidents in New York and New Jersey, one of them deadly. Read more: New York Daily News

Deal close on $142B state budget

Legislative leaders Wednesday were nearing a deal on the $142 billion state budget that would include funding for Mayor de Blasio’s ambitious expansion of pre-kindergarten classes in New York City. Read more: New York Post

Cuomo: I will help de Blasio fix homeless problem

Gov. Cuomo vowed Wednesday to reach a deal with Mayor de Blasio that would let the city use state funds to move more homeless New Yorkers from shelters into apartments. Read more: New York Post

Giuliani slams de Blasio, says he has ‘real disagreements’ with mayor’s policy

Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani slammed Mayor Bill de Blasio Wednesday, saying he has some “real disagreements” with the man now occupying his former desk at City Hall. Read more: CBS New York

Queens pol calls it quits on homeless experiment, but plans to try again


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the New York Daily News

Councilmember Ruben Wills took a dive into the lives of our city’s homeless to highlight hardships for those living in poverty, but called it quits after being diagnosed with pneumonia.

The councilmember began his journey to get a better look into the lives and struggles of the city’s population on the streets on Dec. 17.

“I knew for a fact going into it I would never understand the homeless situation, but I wanted to begin to develop an area of which I can begin to legislate,” Wills said.

His experiment contained various parts, he said, including sleeping on the streets, making enough money to eat and travel and gaining access to health care.

“The homeless situation goes beyond the primary factors that everyone understands. It goes beyond somebody losing their job,” he said.

The councilmember started at the Q6 bus shelter on Rockaway Boulevard and Baisley Boulevard, dressed in jeans, a sweater, a camouflage jacket, scarf and hat. He slept there before heading to a nearby Gulf gas station to “pump gas for change” for transportation costs.

Throughout his experiment, he continued to pump gas and also held open doors for spare change. He said he “didn’t beg” and discovered his fellow homeless “don’t want to sit there and beg for money, they would rather be equipped to work.”

However, his first night out, Wills went to the hospital and was diagnosed with pneumonia. After receiving antibiotics, he spent the night at the Staten Island Ferry terminal and continued his project the next day, but ultimately cut it short the night of Dec. 18.

“The experiment wasn’t for me to go out and die, it was for me to get a glimpse into the conditions they have,” he said.

After getting a doctors clearance, Wills plans to hit the streets once again and navigate the city’s homeless shelter system. He added other councilmembers want to join him, but did not say who.

In the new year, Wills hopes to call “immediate hearings” regarding policy for the homeless and hold open-panel discussions featuring those who “have gone through the homeless experience and survived.”

“To understand it after two days is impossible,” he said. “But at least I can have a glimpse of where we need to go for change.”

 

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Councilmember Ruben Wills going homeless for three days


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

File photo

Councilmember Ruben Wills is stepping into the shoes of our city’s homeless, quite literally.

Tuesday morning, Wills began a three-day journey in which he intends to live the life of a homeless person and experience any hardships firsthand.

“He’s really going all out,” said a spokesperson for Wills. “He wants to get a perception of how people would react to him.”

The councilmmember started his experiment at the Q6 bus shelter on Rockaway Boulevard and Baisley Boulevard, dressed in jeans, a sweater, a camouflage jacket, scarf and hat. He slept there before heading to a nearby gas station to “pump gas for change” for transportation costs.

In between hours of pumping gas, Wills went to eat at a local soup kitchen. Tuesday evening he was on his way to the South Ferry Terminal, where he plans on spending the night.

Tomorrow, Wills is going to try and get into a local homeless shelter and the next day hopes to visit a hospital “to see how quickly they [admit] him and how they react to him,” said the spokesperson.

The spokesperson added that he does have a cell phone on him, but “we really had to force that on him.”

 

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Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Today’s Forecast:

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 90. North wind around 7 mph becoming east in the afternoon. Friday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 73. Southeast wind 5 to 7 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Dunningham Triangle Visioning Day

Stop by Dunningham Triangle to share your design ideas with the NYC Parks Department and the 82nd Street Partnership. What do you like about Dunningham Triangle and how can it be made better? Tell them your ideas!

Click here for more info or submit an event of your own

Former Queens Little League coach pleads guilty to sexually abusing minors

A former Little League coach of the year pleaded guilty to sexually abusing players on his team. David Hartshorn, a former coach at the Rochdale Village Little League, was arrested and charged in February with having sexual contact with three boys, ages 13 and 14, at his Rochdale Village home between July 2009 and January 2011. He was also accused of showing child pornography to minors and filming two teens engaged in sex acts. Read more: Queens Courier

Armstrong Drops Fight Against Doping Charges

After more than a decade of outrunning accusations that he had doped during his celebrated cycling career, Lance Armstrong, one of the most well-known and accomplished athletes in history, finally surrendered on Thursday, etching a dark mark on his legacy by ending his fight against charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs. Read more: NY Times

Mayor Offers Ideas for Why Homeless Numbers Are Up

Asked about a sharp rise in the number of homeless people in New York City’s shelter system, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg suggested Thursday that people were staying in shelters longer in part because the shelters were “much more pleasurable” than they used to be, making people less eager to leave. Read more: NY Times

Strippers look to GOP to ‘make it rain’

Many clubs have taken out ads inviting GOP delegates “to party like a liberal” in a city where the “poles are open all night.” City officials say the convention, expected to draw more than 50,000 visitors, could be Tampa’s biggest party ever. Imagine all those rainmakers. Read more: CNN

Olympic gold medalist Douglas throws out first pitch at Mets game

History-making 16-year-old gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas was on TV with Jay Leno and David Letterman. Sat and chatted with Oprah Winfrey. Met First Lady Michelle Obama. And yesterday she threw out the first pitch at the Mets game. Read more: NY Post

Incumbent Queens Senator’s endorsements are called into question as contentious primary nears

An endorsement controversy has emerged in a contentious Queens primary. The Daily News has learned that a clergy member and several unions that were touted on campaign material as favoring District 10 incumbent state Sen. Shirley Huntley are actually remaining neutral for the Sept. 13 vote. Read more: Daily News

CB5 chair: Glendale homeless shelter could be environmental nightmare


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

Community concern caused by a rumored homeless shelter in Glendale may have been premature.

The site in question, 78-16 Cooper Avenue, “does not meet Building Code requirements for residential occupancy and, due to the age and condition and previous occupancies, could be an environmental nightmare,” Community Board 5 said in a release.

Rumors began circulating last week that the owner of the property, Michael Wilner, was in talks with a nonprofit that could potentially use the site for a homeless shelter.

No application for a shelter has been submitted, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) said.

“The building, which currently has several active Department of Building violations, may contain lead paint, asbestos and various PCB contaminants. The cost and time to convert this structure to a residential facility would be extensive and possibly twice as much as new construction,” Vincent Arcuri, chair of CB5 said.

The vacant factory currently has nine open Department of Building violations.

Prior occupants included an aircraft parts manufacturer, knitting mills, machine shops and Eastern Cabinet Company, Arcuri said, while adding there are rumors the facility was also used as part of the Manhattan Project.

“The site is located adjacent to a known Brownfield site and, due to its low elevation and location, may contain underground pockets of PERC (dry cleaning fluid) from the many defunct knitting mills in the area,” Arcuri said.

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley came out against the site being used for a homeless shelter, saying the nearly 3 acre space should serve the community.

Wilner would not return requests for comment.

If Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced an emergency condition, the site may be able to be used, however.

Nine new shelters have opened in the city recently, prompted by the homeless population’s record numbers. There are 43,774 people currently in homeless shelters, according to the DHS.

 

Possible Glendale homeless shelter met with opposition


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

A potential plan to house a homeless shelter in Glendale may be evicted before it even moves in.

Michael Wilner, the owner of the proposed site at 78-17 Cooper Avenue, has been in contact with a nonprofit agency, said Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, with the idea of turning the former factory into a homeless shelter.

“The councilmember does not support any attempt to put a multiple dwelling shelter on Cooper Avenue and will do everything in her power to prevent it from opening,” said Lydon Sleeper, Crowley’s chief of staff. “Elizabeth has been pushing for that space to be a recreation and community center that serves the public and we will keep pursuing that with the city and the community.”

A Facebook page has also been created in opposition to the proposal.

The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) has yet to receive an application for the site and Community Board 5 said they have not been contacted regarding the shelter.

Wilner refused to answer questions at the site or when reached by phone.

Any plans to transform the factory into a shelter are still in its infancy, said a source with knowledge of the situation. The long-vacant factory would need significant work before it would be ready for occupants.

The factory, zoned M1-1 for manufacturing, sits on a nearly three acre plot of land south of Cooper Avenue. The zoning also allows for hotels, an exemption the city has used before for homeless shelters, Crowley said.

Nine new shelters have opened in the city recently, prompted by the homeless population’s record numbers. There are 43,774 people currently in homeless shelters, according to the DHS.

The city has maintained an open-ended Request for Proposal (RFP) since 2006 to meet capacity needs, a DHS spokesperson said. The proposals move forward based on the number of individuals seeking temporary shelter.

According to Department of Finance records, the estimated market value of the land is $1,160,000.

Kathy Masi, president of the Glendale Civic Association, said she is still waiting on concrete information on the plans, which she believes may be further along than anyone is letting on.

“We really have no idea what’s in store for us,” Masi said. “Our direction right now is to find out exactly what’s going on.”

Masi said the best use for the land would be a park, noting its proximity to schools and the Atlas Park shopping complex.

Mystery behind Ozone Park Marshalls


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

It is unclear what has become of the homeless man allegedly living behind the Marshalls in Ozone Park.

Customers and neighbors said a homeless person had been living behind the store, located on Liberty Avenue between 92nd and 93rd Streets, for the last few weeks.

Bill Folz, a resident, said he first noticed a mattress and some boxes behind the store, along with the strong odor of urine, in May. As time progressed, Folz said, more boxes were popping up.

Folz then went to Marshalls management, he said, and notified them. He said they looked into it and contacted local officials.

Marshalls representatives said they could not comment on the matter.

A spokesperson from Councilmember Eric Ulrich’s office said the staff had been notified of the issue and contacted the Department of Homeless Services. When the homeless man told department operatives he didn’t want to go, the representative said, police were contacted and took care of the matter.

A police source told The Courier that officers cannot do anything in the matter except issue a summons if the homeless person is trespassing on the property. There had not been any information about police responding to a call regarding the matter, the source said.

The nearest homeless shelters are Samaritan Village Forbell, located on Forbell Street in Brooklyn, or The Samaritans Outreach Ministries, on 229th Street in Laurelton.

Mourners Gather At Fallen NYPD Officer’s Funeral


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Mourners Gather At Fallen NYPD Officer’s Funeral

Family, friends, and fellow officers will gather on Long Island today to say a final goodbye to a city police officer who was gunned down last week in Brooklyn. The funeral for Officer Peter Figoski will take place at 11 a.m. at the Parish of St. Joseph Church in Babylon. Mayor Michael Bloomberg was among the hundreds who paid their respects on the second day of Figoski’s wake yesterday. Police say Figoski, 47, was shot in the face by Lamont Pride, 27, during a botched robbery last Monday morning in Cypress Hills. Pride is charged with first and second degree murder in Figoski’s death. Read More: NY1

 

Kim Jong Ils death rocks North Korea, gives region jitters

It was the scenario strategists from Beijing to Washington fretted over: Kim Jong Il’s sudden death befalls North Korea, before the isolated regime completed a power transfer to his young son and rejoined disarmament talks with the US. With news of Kim’s death Monday, the impoverished country with a nuclear program plunged further into uncertainty, raising risks for the region. Read More: New York Post

 

Roughin’ it to roofin’ it

Sheryl-Ann Peters’ occupation was never televised. But unlike Occupy Wall Street protesters — who recently seized a vacant East New York home and moved in a homeless family — her housing takeover was entirely legal. Peters became a first-time homeowner last month thanks to an affordable-housing program for neighborhoods hardest hit by the housing crisis. The city bought the vacant, foreclosed, three-bedroom in St. Albans, Queens in August 2010 for $266,833 under a federal housing program. It added $177,190 worth of renovations, bringing the total worth to $444,023. Read More: Daily News

 

FDNY: Five Firefighters Injured In Brooklyn Brownstone Fire

Five city firefighters were hospitalized Monday while fighting a two-alarm fire in brooklyn. The New York City Fire Department says crews responded to a three-story brownstone located at 1102 Prospect Place in Crown Heights just after 9 a.m. Two firefighters were taken to Cornell Burn Center, one of whom suffered burns over 40 percent of his body. Three others were also injured. No civilians were hurt. The fire was under control in about an hour. Read More: NY1

 

Sources: Cornell Wins Bid For Roosevelt Island Tech Campus

Cornell University is about to become the winner of a competition to build a new science and engineering campus in the city, sources tell NY1. An official announcement from Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected later today. The city has offered free land on Roosevelt Island and up to $100 million worth of infrastructure. In a major sign of strength, the Cornell bid received a $350 million anonymous donation to help build the campus. Stanford University — another top contender — announced Friday it was pulling its bid. Columbia and NYU were also in the running. Read More: NY1

 

Brooklyn Man Awaits Arraignment For Burning Woman Alive

A Brooklyn man is expected to be arraigned today on charges he killed a woman by setting her on fire in her apartment building elevator. Jerome Issac, 47, is charged with murder and arson. Police say he turned himself in yesterday reeking of gasoline and saying he set a fire. Investigators believe he waited for Deloris Gillespie, 73, on the fifth floor of her building in Prospect Heights Saturday afternoon. Police say Isaac is the man seen in surveillance photos. When the elevator doors opened, they say Isaac sprayed Gillespie with a liquid accelerant, and kept spraying after she crouched down. They say he lit a Molotov cocktail and set Gillespie on fire, then tossed the flaming bottle in the elevator and kept spraying the victim. Read More: NY1

 

Haggerty sent to prison for 1 and 1/3 years for Bloomberg campaign cash theft

Disgraced political consultant John Haggerty — described by his own lawyer as broke, divorced and dishonored — was sentenced this morning to serve at least one and one-third years — and as much as four years — in prison for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign cash from Mayor Bloomberg. The sentence was handed down by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Ronald Zweibel, and immediately enacted, with Haggerty being cuffed and led away to a back holding cell for processing. The sentence covers Haggerty’s October conviction for money laundering and second degree grand larceny. Read More: New York Post