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College Point residents blast city over shelter plan at raucous meeting

Resident Jennifer Shannon at listens intently during the meeting.
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Tensions were through the roof at Wednesday night’s College Point Civic Association and Taxpayers meeting as residents expressed anger and fear over a proposed homeless shelter in the neighborhood.

Nearly 200 people filled the room at the Poppenhusen Institute for the Nov. 28 meeting, which required tickets to count the number of attendees; dozens of residents found themselves waiting just outside the doors for the session.

Residents were joined by City Councilman Paul Vallone and neighbors in Whitestone who were given the opportunity to quiz Jackie Bray, the first deputy commissioner for the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), about the plan. Bray shared information regarding the location at 127-03 20th Ave. and fielded the crowd’s questions.

According to Bray, the shelter would be a “general population shelter,” meaning that residents in the 200 single men’s shelter would not be men who are registered sex offenders or have substance abuse and mental health issues.

She said that those allowed to live in the shelter underwent an evaluation process, which involved assessing each individual to see where they should be placed. Before being placed in a shelter, men come from their intake center in Manhattan and placed in an assessment shelter where they are given a comprehensive background and mental health check.

“At that assessment shelter, we spend a full month determining what type of services that individual needs,” Bray said. “That’s when we do a psychological examination, that’s when we do a background check, it’s when we make decisions about what type of shelter that person needs.”

The DHS spokesperson added that the agency is not involved in selecting sites for the shelter. She said that process involves developers “working with landlords” and nonprofit organizations will then “propose the site to the city.”

With regards to safety, Bray said that there would be a “minimum” of 43 security guards and supervisors and at least 133 to 136 cameras on the outside.

But the uproarious crowd — which often burst into loud, disapproving shouts as Bray supplied information about the shelter — could not be convinced that it was right for their community.

“We take care of our own, we don’t need to take care of anybody else,” yelled one resident from the crowd.

“Put it somewhere else!” yelled another.

“This is my town, this is our town,” said a resident named David. “What you’re doing, to force people in, to teach them skills that they need — we have enough kids in this town and enough adults in this town that need that, that can help this community. You are gonna bring nothing but trouble to this town.”

Many residents cited concerns that have been expressed by many others in the community, including lack of essential services, inadequate means of transportation and the various elementary, middle and high schools in the community.

“I have a daughter who goes to Holy Cross, she takes the bus right down on 20th Avenue and 76th,” said one mother who was concerned about the population being so close to so many children.

Lawyer E. Christopher Murray, who has sued the city on behalf of Queens residents in areas such Glendale and Ozone Park opposed to homeless shelters in their communities, also attended the meeting. Murray said that he would be willing to litigate for the people of College Point as well.

At the end of the meeting, resident and protest organizer Jennifer Shannon encouraged attendees to come to the Dec. 2 protest at noon. According to fliers that Shannon handed out, the rally will be at 127th Street and 20th Avenue in College Point.

Shannon also shared that she and others were raising funds for residents to sue the city.

Posted 12:00 am, December 2, 2018
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Reader feedback

Goodluck from Queens says:
Good luck with that one because ultimately the city doesnt care about you want at the end of the day. The city pushes everything through anyway no matter how hard you fight.
Dec. 2, 6:49 am
Nunziod from howard beach says:
Why doesn't David the Xenophobe spell out exactly what's on his mind? It's not "people" he's afraid of, it's Black people that he fears moving into his precious "Town" Where the H*ell does he think he is, Iowa> This is New York City, population 8.5 million at last undercount. If you don't like it here, "David", there are nice lily white suburbs just over the city line where you will find many other bigots like yourself. Why don't You get out of My town!
Dec. 2, 5:06 pm
Notaboutrace from Queens says:
Nunziod from howard beach says: Why doesn't David the Xenophobe spell out exactly what's on his mind? It's not "people" he's afraid of, it's Black people that he fears moving into his precious "Town" Where the H*ell does he think he is, Iowa> This is New York City, population 8.5 million at last undercount. If you don't like it here, "David", there are nice lily white suburbs just over the city line where you will find many other bigots like yourself. Why don't You get out of My town! It has nothing to do with black people. It has to do with men who could be child predators and sickos that could be living there. The city "claims" that these people will be screened but we all know that everything the elected officials say is a complete lie. Why do you have to make everything about race for? And dont YOU DARE tell me to get out of town because most of my family has lived in NYC since before 1850. So don't even think about responding back to me about some nonsense stuff and tell me that this ISNT MY TOWN.
Dec. 2, 6:18 pm
Joey Whitestone says:
College point is crap. All ways was. At first it was all white trash drunks. Now it a third world country of trash always will be will never change. Look at Main Street. Is a dump with illegal sex trafficking. Whore house. To illegal immigration scams all I’m tellin is the truth So this shelter belongs there. You this will never happen in. PARK slope. Where the dope head lives. Welcome to liberals. In America
Dec. 2, 9:31 pm
Jr from Bayside says:
Hahahah, Vallone attended the meeting. He couldnt get a broken sidewalk fixed in 4 years you think he is going to help you stop a shelter?! Reap what you sow, you voted for these clowns. Its only going to get worse.
Dec. 3, 2:09 am
Celtic from Bayside says:
CP brought this upon themselves. You let your once white middle class neighborhood become overrun with 3rd world scum, so this is your prize. I'm quite confident the "old" College Point would definately have burned this placed down.
Dec. 3, 3:37 pm

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