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College Point Group Hires Lawyer to Fight City’s Plan to Open Shelter

Hundreds Protest Against the Proposed Shelter on Dec. 2 (Photo: https://abettercollegepoint.com)

March 7, 2019 By Jon Cronin

The opponents of a proposed homeless shelter in College Point have retained a lawyer as they get ready to do battle with the Department of Homeless Services.

The College Point Residents Coalition, a group that formed soon after the public heard that a 200 all-male transitional shelter was being planned for the area, has hired E. Christopher Murray who has experience helping Queens residents fight against the opening of homeless shelters—notably in Glendale and Ozone Park.

Murray, an attorney with Uniondale-based Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, said that he will file suit against DHS to block a proposed shelter at 127-03 Ave 20th Ave. should the deal be approved. He said he won’t file suit until DHS has signed off on the plan.

“Hopefully they will change their mind,” Murray said, and a lawsuit won’t need to be filed.

Murray, however, is preparing for that possibility and has filed Freedom of Information Requests to find out whether the city has unfairly saturated the neighborhood with public services, which could be grounds to argue against its opening.

He is also investigating the condition building. He is looking to find out what complaints and violations have been filed against the building and whether it is fit for housing.

Murray didn’t reveal what arguments he would present should he ultimately file a lawsuit.

Murray has filed a lawsuit against DHS in the past. He filed suit against the agency when it proposed opening a shelter in Glendale on Cooper Avenue in 2014. He questioned whether the proposed building was suitable for a shelter, since it had at one time been used by an airplane manufacturer that used dangerous chemicals. The court disagreed and threw the suit out.

127-03 20th Ave. (Google)

The city, however, didn’t move forward with the Glendale shelter because of political and civic pressure.

Last summer, DHS applied for a permit to build a transitional hotel at the Cooper Avenue site after Mayor Bill de Blasio stated that he needed to open more shelters to combat homelessness in the city. There has been no progress to date.

But the City appears to be making progress, along with its non-profit partner Westhab, with its College Point shelter plans.

“The City and not-for-profit social service provider partner Westhab are ensuring the building is ready for occupancy, finalizing all required reviews, and moving forward with opening this facility as soon as possible,” said Ariana Fishman, a spokesperson with the Department of Homeless Services

Meanwhile, protests against the proposed shelter are likely to continue.

Jennifer Shannon, co-chair of the College Point Residents Coalition, has already organized 10 rallies against DHS’s shelter proposal and plans to do more.

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14 Comments

anonymous

No doubt that there is a good reason why these men are homeless. Placing them in an environment that is already struggling to keep it together will not remove those reasons. Fundamentally, their issues require the proper attention and care. Placing them in a homeless shelter is like placing them a pound. They will never be able to break out of their condition around people just like themselves. They need emotional, spiritual and ethical support. Misery does like company and placing them in an environment that perpetuates misery will not make them responsible citizens. We are headed for disaster in the five boroughs. God help us all.

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Steve

Until the Mayor puts a shelter next to his residence in Brooklyn, I’m not interested in listening to his BS. Perhaps if nyc didn’t overtax it’s businesses and people there would less homeless.

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Mona Lott

C’mon already. What’s the problem? Why all the angst? Didn’t you know…this is what’s great about Queens… diversity. Now the homeless can mingle with the illegals, transgenders, drug dealers, pot smokers and all the other beautiful people of this borough!!! Gotta love those encampments in the parks and the lovely human deposits left for all to step in.

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Brenda

The shelter should be built in park slope Brooklyn where the mayor and his wife and children live.

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Anonymous

cheaper and larger land Upstate. why not build them a community with homes, schools, and clinics instead of throwing the in random neighborhoods

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Arturo M

We don’t want shelter on this neighborhood
Sending to upstate..
Alot big lands we have schools aroun the corner …

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Gilda LoPinto

The proposed site in College Point is a 200 bed TRANSITIONAL all male shelter in the middle of five schools and residences. This means men coming out prison and drug rehabAlso no disclosure as to sex offenders. This is one of the many reasons why the residents are fighting against it

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Damu

Affordable housing, education and support services are essential to solving homelessness.

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C

So, we’ll all complain about the homeless taking residence on the subway train, and then deny them access to shelter. How very NY of you all.

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goal oriented

Amen, the solution to our homeless problem isn’t compassion and assistance. We should keep villifying them and fighting all efforts to help them, it works so well!

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Nubia

I wouls very much like fir the homeless to have less problems , but try and imagine 200 male some of them with drug problems , mentally ill around a place that holds 5 elementary schools , a children park , many of this children walk from home to school alone . As you see the problem is the place where they are planning to put this shelter . There are places in LIC that could easily accomodate these men and where there are not schools , nor parks around . If it were a family shelter at least but this is abusive . Mayor Di Blasio is just not suited fir the job

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