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Comrie protests plans for homeless center

City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) joined in on the protests against a proposed homeless shelter in Jamaica, a neighborhood where community leaders said they have been overloaded with similar homes.

Speaking outside 170-02 93rd Ave., where the nonprofit group Housing Bridge wants to create transitional housing for families, the councilman urged the city May 19 not to grant the Brooklyn group approval for the home.

Community Board 12, which covers Jamaica and other southeast Queens neighborhoods such as St. Albans and Springfield Gardens, is home to nine out of the 17 homeless shelters in the borough and residents have become fed up with the heavy concentration of the facilities in their community, according to Comrie.

“Community Board 12 is already oversaturated with these shelters. It’s just unfair that they would place these shelters at this time,” he said.

Housing Bridge, which has similar facilities in Brooklyn and East Elmhurst, submitted a request for proposal to the city Department of Homeless Services to set up 54 units in the building in March. The agency is currently reviewing the RFP, according to a spokeswoman.

The nonprofit’s chief executive officer, Issac Leshinsky, told TimesLedger Newspapers the building’s developer offered to lease the space to his group and has tried to reach out to the board to discuss his plans with them.

CB 12 District Manager Yvonne Reddick said she has no interest in negotiating because she is tired of the city designating her district as the location for homeless shelters and other facilities. Reddick noted there are six centers for mentally handicapped individuals and probably many more unlicensed and illegal shelters operating in the area.

“We really don’t know how many are out there,” she said.

Comrie said there is more at stake since the proposed shelter is right next to the Conlon Lihfe ´╗┐Towers Senior Residence and the tenants have expressed their concerns about living next to the displaced families. The councilman collected 140 signatures from the senior citizens and is looking to get more names to send a message to DHS.

“We would hope the city would come around and change its mind,” the councilman said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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