“Fifty-three years I’m living here…53 years of causes—I’ve never seen anything like this.”
That’s how one Ozone Park native put it Tuesday evening as he slowly scanned the standing-room-only crowd packed inside the Majestic Marquise catering hall on 101st Avenue. The speaker was marveling at the hundreds of concerned residents that turned out, on short notice, to tell the City, in no uncertain terms:
Not in my backyard.
You see, the de Blasio administration wants to, once again, turn around, drop trou and dump on Queens. The City has informed Ozone Park that it’s opening a new shelter at 85-15 101st Ave. for 113 single adult men with mental illness.
Yup, right in the heart of Ozone Park, in absurdly close proximity to five schools, four parks, and eight churches.
Why? Here is the City’s rationale, in part, for choosing this particular site:
“There are 272 individuals that come from CB 9 in shelters across the city, however, there are only 126 individuals being sheltered in CB 9, in one commercial hotel, which will be phased out as part of Turning the Tide.”
(Turning the Tide refers to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Turning the Tide on Homelessness, Neighborhood by Neighborhood,” the 114-page vision to address the homelessness crisis that outlines the timing and logistics of ending the use of 360 cluster sites and commercial hotel facilities. Replacing the sites will be 90 traditional shelters distributed across the five boroughs. Or so the City says.)
So, because there are 272 people who hail from Community Board 9 neighborhoods currently living in shelters across the city, and “only 126” of them are being housed in facilities in CB 9, we have to accept without objection whatever you want to do, wherever you want to do it?
“Instead of addressing the root causes of poverty and a lack of affordable housing, the administration is frantically trying to construct shelters in residential neighborhoods. This strategy is neither helpful to those who have fallen on hard times, nor is it in the best interest of the local community. The proposed location on 101st Avenue is completely inappropriate for people with mental health issues.”
Thank you, Councilman Ulrich.
And it’s not like the City has an exactly pristine track record when it comes to keeping promises or even telling the truth.
This week, this is how federal officials described their dealings with the City Housing Authority:
“NYCHA has repeatedly made false statements to HUD and the public regarding these matters. These include false certifications by NYCHA each year that it would comply with HUD’s lead paint safety regulations. NYCHA also deceived HUD about living conditions at NYCHA, going so far as to publish a ‘Quick Tips’ training guide for how to hide conditions from HUD’s inspectors.
Only in New York.
Reach out to your elected officials and tell them to tell the City that when it comes to opening a homeless shelter for mentally ill men in the heart of Ozone Park:
Not in my backyard.


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