Homeless residents begin moving into Pan Am Hotel in Elmhurst

Civic leaders are planning at protest at The Pan American Hotel in Elmhurst.
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The Comet Civic Association of Maspeth and Elmhurst is planning a protest for Tuesday evening at The Pan American Hotel at 79-00 Queens Blvd. The group’s President Roe Daraio claims that Samaritan Village, a Briarwood-based social service provider, made a proposal to place 200 homeless people in the hotel, including children, in a plan supported by Mayor de Blasio and approved by Comptroller Scott Stringer.

A spokesman for Stringer said in order to address the homeless crisis, the comptroller “approved an emergency declaration for family shelters across the city so that DHS can house homeless families.” He went on to say that Stringer “has not weighed in on the appropriateness of any specific location” but believes adequate community notification is critical.

The first of the residents moved in last Friday and Councilman Daniel Dromm is angry that the city Department of Homeless Services provided little notice.

“I am deeply concerned that DHS plans to use the old Pan Am Hotel on Queens Boulevard as a homeless shelter,” Dromm said. “Elmhurst has already had to bear a huge burden of services for the less fortunate. One block away is the Metro Motel, another homeless shelter. I am upset that I was only informed that 36 homeless families would be given shelter at the Pan Am hotel as it was actually happening at around 4:45 p.m. last Friday night.”

Dromm will participate in the protest Tuesday at 6 p.m., according to his spokeswoman.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4538.

Updated 10:24 am, June 16, 2014
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Reader feedback

momof3boys from Queens says:
Are you kidding me a protest. We need more housing for homeless families..a lot of middle class families are losing in this economy.
June 12, 2014, 8:11 pm
joe from queens says:
They should have turned it into affordable housing where you have to make between 90k-115k to live in it! Affordable housing is a joke! Working any more in this city is useless anyway! This city is for the have and the have nots, so even if you do the right thing and try to work, you get punished! I may as well quit my job and apply for this shelter, atleast Then I will be able to find a Place to live on my 55k/year income!
June 13, 2014, 4:49 am
boys does not know from Queens says:
The problem is not simply lack of affordable housing. The majority of homeless adults are mentally ill, alcoholics and/or drug addicts. Many get benefit dollar that cover their rent but misuse those dollars or leave their apartments because they hear voices, etc that tell them to go. We need to give treatment to those whose conditions prevent them from having a normal home life.
June 13, 2014, 8:42 am
Joe Moretti from Jamaica says:
momof3boys from Queens says:
Are you kidding me a protest. We need more housing for homeless families..a lot of middle class families are losing in this economy.

Give me a break, I have seen who lives in these places since there are two about 10 blocks from me. Sure there are some families, but many are recovering addicts, chronically unemployed people, bottom of the barrel folks who have no respect for the community, with the garbage throwing, hanging out making all kinds of noises.

We all know the kinds of people that go into these places.
We don't need more undesirables destroying more communities.

These folks never should have moved to one of the most expensive cities in the country to begin with.
June 13, 2014, 6:23 pm
mom of 3 from Queens says:
Life is all about giving people a break. If you are so unhappy leave. Living in Queens is not getting easy of anyone. I can't even get my son in a public school that I live 4 doors away.. So don't get me started.
June 13, 2014, 7:24 pm
Dawn from queens says:
Being a shelter operator is a lucrative would be more cost effective to give rent subsidies, job training and placement assistance to those families and homeless individuals who are in that situation due to circumstances beyond their control. Money should be invested in affordable and supportive housing for the disabled. This will lessen the number of homeless in shelters and entering shelters. Better use of taxpayer money...but instead we are enriching the service providers, landlords and property owners to house homeless by spending over $3,500 a month to house one family in a shelter. The average stay for a family in a shelter is over 1 year. Why would the shelter operator want to decrease the time in shelter...they would lose money...instead, increase the time in shelter and build/operate more shelters...cha-ching!
June 13, 2014, 11:53 pm
Joe Moretti from Jamaica says:
mom of 3 from Queens says:
Life is all about giving people a break.


Who ever said life is about giving people a break. No that is not what life is. That is was people who want something, be they rich or poor.

Life is about getting your S**T together, that is what life is about. If you cannot afford to have children, don't. If you cannot afford living in a certain part of the country, move to a less expensive.

Sure life is not easy and especially in New York, but you need to be prepared for worst case senario, so that will the time comes you do not end up in a shelter.

Homeless shelters have become a big business just like prison. The answer to his problem is not homeless shelters, which do have a very negative impact on communities. Dawn from queen is completely right about shelters.

For you comment about if you are unhappy in Queens, leave. Well, I could say that same to you, if you cannot get into a shelter, you should find employment in a less expensive part of the country.

No I and others DO NO want these homeless shelters put in our communities, where they are not properly managed and the people living their do whatever they want as far as noise, acting up, etc. Besides the fact that they put a burden on an all ready overcrowded area to begin with.

Life is NOT about giving people a break. Life is TOUGH and you have to deal with it the best you can at times and think things through and be prepared.
June 14, 2014, 7:14 am
jojo from queens village says:
these people are perfect citizens. their only flaw is lack of a home. most of their homes were taken by evil bankers who place greed above everything else. give them a home and they will show you they are better than you, just without a home.
June 14, 2014, 7:34 pm
Joe Moretti from Jamaica says:
jojo from queens village says:
these people are perfect citizens. their only flaw is lack of a home. most of their homes were taken by evil bankers who place greed above everything else. give them a home and they will show you they are better than you, just without a home.


Exactly where do you get your information, because that is NOT the case for many. Many are not even home owners, but renters. Some as I have said before are chronic unemployed, recovery addicts, etc.

As far as your "evil bankers", as I said the majority of people in these shelters in NYC, are not home owners. I agree that the banks certainly did their share of crap, but people also signed on to mortgages that in reality they knew they would never be able to pay based on their salary.

Bottom line, a better system is needed, not the homeless shelter where the only people who win are the greedy shelter owners. Remember a shelter is only a temporary fix, what is needed is a permanent solution and shelters are not the way to go. A much better program that is not being investigated enough are rent subsidies, we people can actually live in homes or apartments, not homeless shelters which are not a very good environment.
June 15, 2014, 7:30 am
Cedrik from Elmhurst says:
I only a teen, but I really don't want them here to be honest... I know that some are just simply normal people lacking a home, but I must point out that the large majority are a threat to our community. I have lived here all my life, and now that they are moving here, I feel threatened. I have never felt more unsafe than now, with so many of these families moving into this hotel; which is literally a block away from my my house. I fear for my mother, who passes by that hotel on your way to and back from work. I do not want to find out one day that she was harassed by these people. I fear for my little sister, who enjoys playing outside in the year by herself. Please, for the sake of all the children and those who may be influenced or impacted negatively by these people, please do not send them here... I do realize that I sound selfish to some of you guys reading this, but I want to point out that I am trying to protect my family as well. I hope you take our feelings into consideration. Thank you.
June 17, 2014, 4:46 pm
Jane Doe from Elmhurst says:
This is ridiculous. Newly appointed mayor wants to gain popularity and future votes by hopping on all the hot topic of this city, be it education or economic disparity, without ever considering the consequences that it would do to the respective communities. For whatever reason, those that end up in a homeless shelter will always be deemed as a negative part of society; they cannot participate in that society, therefore are counterproductive. Sure there are those that suffered through a series of unfortunate events, and is deserving of pity. But majority of others are there because of their own wrongdoing. Like others mentioned, many are drug addicts, ex-convicts, etc. As a local resident, Pan America is located in close proximity to numerous schools, banks, and supermarkets. Have your politicians ever considered the amount of resources, and the burden that would be placed on taxpayer to finance a program to shelter and control such a rowdy group? Most definitely not. How much of our hard earned money go towards helping the hopeless? Why would honest hardworking Americans trying to achieve the American Dream be forced to co-exist with those that gave up? These politicians and pseudo leaders should seriously consider if getting re-elective is worth destroying the city's future. Detroit already walked down the path which we are on. If our leaders are so nearsighted and cannot see such visible truth, then truly, May God Help Us. (And I'm an atheist).
June 17, 2014, 5:37 pm
judy from Elmhurst says:
This is not a case of "not in my backyard". This is a case of "enough already in my backyard". We have four hotels within 6 blocks that already house homeless. Plus we have an adult residence on 45th ave. that houses a large number of people who have mental issues wandering the neighborhood, panhandling, trying to bum cigarettes. You can't walk on Broadway without being approached. I understand these folks at the home have no family to take them on and they need help but there is no supervision. The home is a whole other problem. I just mention it and the other hotels to illustrate that this neighborhood is already doing it's share.
June 17, 2014, 7:24 pm
Elmhurst Residents from Elmhurst says:
Enough is enough..
I feel sorry for those homeless family, but that doesn't mean I am ok with them coming into our already overcrowded community and destroying our lives. As many have pointed out, Elmhurst has already done its fair share by providing 4 other homeless service facilities. It is very different this time because DHS plans to put 200 homeless families in that hotel. 200 FAMILIES!!! It will be a huge burden on any community that are prepared for this. Not to mention the safety issue that brings as the hotel is only two blocks away from three schools. I respect those unfortunate homeless families, they need a hand at the most difficult time of their life, but we all know those families are not going to be the only residents DHS place there, there will be ex-con, registered sex offender, drug addicts, etc. AND THERE ARE GOING TO BE A LOT OF THEM, and more of them will be attracted to this location.. soon the drug dealer will follow... CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT??? Ask yourselves if you will want to raise your children in communities like that. We Elmhurst residents certainly don't!
June 17, 2014, 8:04 pm
Rose P from Elmhurst says:
Joe Moretti, I AGREE 100% WITH YOU. Life is not about getting a break, it's about working hard for what you desire in life. It's about making the right choices in order to see the results of these choices in the feature. I immigrated to this country from South America about 15 years ago and I have been living in Queens since. And how did I conduct my life? Let me refer to all those people with comments like "giving people a break and evil bankers" Well, what you do is to set up priorities in your life. Back in the days, I could have listen to "certain people" telling me how to take advantage of the system, section 8, welfare and all that stuff, even doing drugs and get easy money, instead I worked all day and went to school during the night to become someone better. Now that I looked back and realized that it has not been easy, all the sleepless night and financial troubles, eating rice and eggs everyday so I can pay my college tuition, even then, I picked my self up and kept on going, working different jobs and reassuring myself that this situation was going to be only temporary. Aftet all the hard work, I can proudly say that I hold a Master degree in Education and currently finishing my Phd. Therefore, I DO NOT FEEL SORRY for any of these people. It's not the community's fault that they made their wrong choices in their life. We all know that these folks placed in the Pan America Hotel are young people between 19 and 35 years old, they are not disable people or senior citizens that cannot work or move around. They are lazy and have not intentions of doing any better. These people never had anything in their life because of their choice of living in drugs and alcohol. So do not give me that crap of "giving people a break". They need to give themselves a break by getting their lives together, which means getting good a job, going back to school. THAT'S WHAT THESE PEOPLE NEED TO DO IF THEY WANT TO BECOME REHABILITATED, instead, they are placed in neighborhoods where they will still continue doing what they only know, and DO WE NEED TO PAY FOR IT? Working people, students, retired senior citizens, our already populated schools. I was in the rally last night, and I happened to bumped into a couple of these people. They are young people with babies, cursing obscene words to the TOP OF THEIR LUNGS to their 4 year old and infant baby only because they were crying. These young people, telling their kids to SHUT THE "F" UP BEFORE I JACK YOU UP, DON'T YOU SEE I AM "F" SMOKING A CIGARETTE" then they grab they Mc Donald garbage with fries and all and proceed to toss it on the pavement, follow by the soda cups and dirty diapers, which fell on my arm since they threw the diaper in the air, they looked at me and laughed. I proceed to tell them that they were rude and they needed to pick up their garbage, so they say "F$$$ you, this is our neighborhood and we do whatever we want, AND IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT GET THE "F" OUT" and continue walking towards the entrance of the Hotel. With this in mind, I DON'T WANT THESE TYPE OF PEOPLE IN THIS COMMUNITY, THEY ARE A BAD INFLUENCE, DANGEROUS, SIMPLY THE WORST.
June 18, 2014, 10:51 am
currently Homless from Brooklyn/queens says:
Everybody is entitled for their own opinions but people who aren't living in a shelter system or in a bad situation shouldn't have an opinion if you haven't been in the situation. I'm going to tell you this your TAX dollars is being spent on homeless shelter instead of rental subsidies for people in need. The government pay $3000 to $4000 a month for a family to stay in a shelter and the dumps they put you isn't even worth it. This is my first time living in a homeless shelter and from my experinces i would rather kill myself than live another night here but unfornuately i have kids that need their mother. The living conditions are inhealthy for anyone to live in so imagine children, the agencies all work together with each other and what ever money you work for you end up spending it buying food cause welfare refused to give you cash cause you work even if its minimum wage and the food stamps they give is laughable for a family of 5 kids and 2 adults I received only 200 dollars in food stamps so my husband's social security checks gets put on food and that's how the system is design to fail you cause when you want or try to better your life the system that should help you so you can do it on your own refuses to help you. I don't do drugs, I don't drink or smoke cigarettes . I'm not the average shelter tentant I want a shot at getting my own place again and I'm asking the government to please help my family and families that need the help to assist me with half of my rent. I would settle for a NYCHA apartment and be happy with it
June 23, 2014, 8:29 pm
Hardworking Family from Elmhurst says:
I understand some "homeless" families needed places to stay but these are not "families". They are mostly drug addicts or people with mental illness. It is not fair for the hard working people living in the area and deal with these people at daily basis. They are already causing a lot of problems in the neighborhood. They walk to small businesses and take whatever they want and just walk right out. If owners dare to ask them to pay, they would throw things at you and act up. I walked by them with my four years old daughter and one of their kids just pushed my daughter to the ground for nothing. They didn't apology and instead was shouting and yelling at us. These people are not human-beings. We were so scared and had to almost run to get away. Although the security guy in front of Pan American apologized to us but it has nothing to do with him. I now not longer feel safe to walk around my neighborhood and seriously thinking about selling my house and move out of Elmhurst.
July 1, 2014, 11:10 am
Elizabeth from Woodside says:
My 70 year old uncle lives a few blocks away from Pan American hotel. A homeless man staying at the hotel came around the neighborhood at about 10pm at night going door-to-door asking for money. Not just money. Asking for a hundred dollars. Didn't want food, wanted the money. My uncle has a good heart and offered food. When the man heard it was food and saw that my uncle refused to offer money, he had the AUDACITY to assault my uncle and shove him. Fortunately, my uncle is strong and bigger than most men so he was not injured.


July 7, 2014, 1:14 pm
John from Elmhurst says:
For those of you who live in Elmhurst and do not want the Pan Am shelter, please continue to call the Mayor and your local elected officials - NYC Councilman Daniel Dromm, NYS Assemblyman Francisco Moya, NYS State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, and US Congressman Grace Meng. They are feeling a lot of pressure to close the shelter. Keep on calling, emailing, and writing letters to keep the heat on them. We've held 2 protests with 1,000 people each. Next time we're bringing the protest to City Hall and the Mayor's office.
July 7, 2014, 10:21 pm
B from Elmhurst says:
For those of you who are young, or never lived in places like this let me educate you.

I'm now in my late 40s, but made some mistakes as a youth, ended up with 2 kids to support, with my husband who couldn't find work, and we ended up in one of the "welfare hotels" of the Koch era... Older folks like me might remember them being called "How'm I doin Hiltons"... Yes, this is not the first idiot democrat mayor to try this.

Those places were filled with young urban men and women, and if you were young also, and female, as I was, when you moved in and met your "neighbors" in these hotels, you were encouraged by those folks to have more babies got "gets mo money"... Yes it's true. Most of them WANT to stay there, the thinking is, "I's livin in a FREE HOTEL!"

The old grandmothers who got put there with their "granbabies", having been kicked out of the projects because those 4 or 5 teens who she raised after the druggie daughter abandoned them, were dealing drugs, those "families" would end up in the Hotel, and those "grandbabies" would do the same there. Sell drugs and form gangs. In 1989, In the Prince George Hotel on 28th and Park in Manhattan, a baby was thrown out of a 14th floor window because it's mother owed a dealer. The Martinique, which is now a luxury hotel at 33rd and Broadway, was so dangerous in the 80s that you dared not walk down the block. It housed the WORST of the WORST homeless "Families".

How soon we forget what types of places these become. No these are not "good people down on their luck"... Most are ANIMALS, with no respect for their neighbors. This is only the beginning.

Welcome back to the 80s... Thanks, Mayor Doh'BamaClone. You're really doing a LOT for the city.

Actually he is... for some people...

The truth is, the hotel owners profit... I remember my pickup days, when we had to bring the checks to the front desk every 2 weeks... Brace yourself...

3500.00.... Yes, that's NOT a typo... for TWO WEEKS, For a family of FOUR... and OURS was only in STATEN ISLAND!!! Imagine what they charged in the city!!!

And this was the late 80s... What on earth could they be charging now?

Yes folks, this place has GOT TO GO... So do the others... Let them go to Jamaica, or parts further East in Queens... This community has DONE ENOUGH. We are HARD WORKING PEOPLE who deserve our homes and schools to be SAFE, not riddled with this human garbage. As many have said, they need to WORK to get a leg up, and go to school, be better people. Housing them in "free hotels" is NOT the way. Shelters with curfews or you lose your bed, manditory proof that you're DOING SOMETHING to better yourself, now THAT is the way.

But this isn't about helping people, it's about making the Mayor's supporters richer.

Keep up the fight, folks, our community deserves to win!
July 26, 2014, 12:59 pm
Michelle from queens says:
Everyone has the right to their own opinions. I understand some of these people are trashy, rude , addicts, etc but what about people who have children, one of my 2 children is medically disabled with a heart Condition and we are facing going to a shelter due to eviction because of no income. I am on temporary assistance a.k.a. welfare, they only help but so much. I'm scared for my children adapting to the fact that we have to go to a shelter. My daughter is only in kindergarten. My mother will be going with us and I hope we can stay together, some people are just lacking a home.or cant work due to disabled children. People you need to put yourself in the mind set of those facing homelessness especially with children. How do you explain that to your 5 year old? Knowing we'll be in a shelter is heartbreaking, think of how we feel not just your neighborhood. Not all of us are like the other homeless people, some just need a home. We will be just as good if we had a home. Think of that , STOP being selfish and disrespectful. Im sorry all you people have to work for the needy but you act like we want to be in this situation. .
Oct. 13, 2014, 10:37 pm

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