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Ozone Park community holds second rally in opposition to homeless shelter

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Khairul Islam Kukon — the president of the Block Association of Elder Lane — and Misba Abdin — the founder of the Bangladeshi American Community & Youth Services — protested in Ozone Park against a shelter being built after a member of the community was allegedly attacked by a homeless man.
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Ozone Park residents listen intently at the rally against the shelter, which will house 113 mentally ill men.
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State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (l.) speaks at the rally.
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State Assemblyman Mike Miller (c.) stood in full support of the Bengali community.

With construction underway at a homeless shelter in Ozone Park, elected officials rallied last Friday with dozens of members from the local community across the street from the construction site after a second homeless individual allegedly attacked a person in the area.

The Oct. 12 rally, sponsored by state Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) and the Ozone Park Residents Block Association — headed by President Sam Esposito — was led by Bangladeshi American Community Development & Youth Services.

Ozone Park resident Shamim Ahmed, 45, the victim of the latest attack, spoke about the incident that left him with bruises circling his eye.

“Monday at midnight, I was doing laundry with my wife,” said Ahmed, who added that the suspect, Paul Gaspard, 39, of Jamaica, allegedly started to curse him out.

“’Why do you do this?’” Ahmed said he asked Gaspard.

Ahmed’s said Gaspard hit him in the face and as he tried to defend himself, his wife tried to break up the fight, only to get pushed by the defendant.

“I said that I was going to call the police,” said Ahmed, noting that the suspect also spit on him. “His behavior is no good.”

The Oct. 8 incident allegedly occurred at approximately 11:29 p.m. at the Superclean Laundromat, located at 74-02 101st Ave., according to a police report. The attack left Ahmed with minor facial injuries. The suspect also had a small amount of marijuana on him, according to police.

After the attack, Ahmed is opposed to the idea of the homeless shelter —located at 81-15 101st Ave., seven blocks away from where he was assaulted — that is being built for 113 mentally ill individuals.

“I don’t think our community is sufficient enough to support this,” said Ahmed. “It’s near schools and families... it should be moved some other place for the betterment of the community.”

Esposito and Misba Abdin, the founder of BADCYS, are not opposed to having a shelter within the community, but believe it should be one that fits the character of the area and that mentally ill folks should have a facility that better supports their needs.

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn) and state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) agreed.

“We never, ever said no as a community to no homeless people here,” said Addabbo. “We will do our share... give us women, domestic violence victims, give us seniors, or give us veterans and we would accept them and welcome them into our community. With the mentally ill, they need a facility where they get the help that they need.”

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

Posted 12:00 am, October 18, 2018
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Reader feedback

Dwayne from Queens says:
Such 'tolerance' and 'love'. right. #walkaway
Oct. 18, 3:25 am
The Venerable Stan from Flushing says:
Something always bothers me about these homeless shelter sites. We always hear local residents speaking against them & we frequently hear the Mayor or other non-neighborhood advocates, speaking in favor of them. WHY ARE WE NOT HEARING FROM THE HOMELESS? If the homeless want to live in & be a part of these communities, why aren't they speaking on their own behalf? ¶ ¶ Or, perhaps,…… just perhaps……their actions speak louder than words ever could. Maybe they are trying to tell us that they hold the other members of the community(s) in contempt and DO NOT want to be part of those communities? ¶ ¶ Please think about this! ¶ ¶ I also noted that the Times Ledger never seems to have any comments by the "attackers." While I acknowledge that the homeless-shelter dwelling attackers are not usually known, in the case of Paul Gaspard that is not a factor. Why hasn't the Times-Ledger reported his side of the story or at least given a " Mr. Gaspard did not answer our request for comments," or whatever the case might be?
Oct. 18, 6:02 pm
Jr from Bayside says:
You voted for big bird, this is what you get. When your family gets raped, murdered and robbed from an illegal, you can thank comrade deblasio and cuomo for that too, hahah. keep voting for these bums, reap what you sow.
Oct. 19, 11:40 am

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