Last month, Pheffer Amato and three other pols released a joint statement admonishing the City for not notifying any of the elected officials in the area that 50 families are being housed at the Comfort Inn in Ozone Park.
By Forum Staff
Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Howard Beach) last week introduced a bill requiring 45 days’ notice before homeless housing is placed in a community.
The bill would also require that elected officials and community boards be made aware of any such plans, making sure that through community conversation, the overall impact can be lessened and that vital services are delivered to the homeless.
Last month, Pheffer Amato joined City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) in releasing a statement calling for an end to theCity Department of Homeless Services policy of spontaneous housing of homeless individuals and families in area hotels, with no notification of community leadership.
“Mayor de Blasio’s failed policy of housing homeless families in hotels is simply unacceptable,” said the statement in part. “These types of shelters are not cost-effective, and do not offer any real services that actually help homeless families get back on their feet. To add insult to injury, the Administration did not notify any of the elected officials in the area that 50 families are being housed at the Comfort Inn in Ozone Park.”
Pheffer Amato added this week, “Community leaders were not given a heads up. The Department of Homeless Services brought in a private security force, without checking in with the local police precinct. From a conversation we had with the hotel’s owner, it didn’t seem that job training or placement was being provided. It was just warehousing. That’s unacceptable, and it must end.”
The freshman assemblywoman said that the community must be part of any instance of homeless shelter siting.
“Until communities are included in the conversation, people with complex needs will never get the consideration and planning they need,” Pheffer Amato noted. “During my campaign, I heard from communities who had been shut out of the process, and I promised to make sure they would be let back in. This bill does that. The relationship between homeless people and communities should be established and thoughtful, not anxious and uncertain. Let’s bring this conversation into the open, and find a way forward that works for everyone, regardless of economic status.”