Photo Courtesy of Google
The summit is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 8, starting at 6 p.m. at Deshi Senior Center, located at 83-10 Rockaway Blvd., Ozone Park.
By Michael V. Cusenza
The leader of a recently formed area civic association on Tuesday issued an “urgent” call to community leaders citywide to attend a “summit” on homeless shelter sitings across the five boroughs.
Ozone Park Residents Block Association President Sam Esposito has reached out to “every leader, president, chair, from every community, neighborhood, and town, from every borough across the city of NY, for a summit meeting on how to proceed, and stand together, work together, and come up with a solution to the crisis facing NYC, the homeless shelter placement, of 90 shelters, in our residential, family, communities.”
The meeting is set for this Friday, Feb. 8, starting at 6 p.m. at Deshi Senior Center (83-10 Rockaway Blvd., Ozone Park).
Esposito circulated the “call to action” just a week after announcing on the civic’s Facebook page that the City has abandoned its plan to house 113 single adult men with mental illness at a new shelter on 101st Avenue and 86th Street in the heart of Ozone Park. The building will still be used as a temporary housing facility, but the population has changed.
“It is a small win. But a win never-the-less,” Esposito wrote on the social media platform in a Jan. 29 post. “We fought against the mentally ill men being placed on 101 ave and we won that battle. We realize that we still could be faced with some problems with 113 men, but it is a far cry from the challenges we were facing had they put 113 mentally ill men there.”
As for Friday’s event, Esposito pointed out that the meeting “is not about each shelter’s significant impact on their own community, but a summit that will discuss legal actions. Our attorney has found possible grounds and we need to discuss this going forward on how to proceed and see how many communities are willing to stand with us, in this fight, jointly.”
Esposito has asked that at least one representative “from every civic, organization, board, club, etc. that represents their community, neighborhood and towns, to please come to the meeting. This is NOT an open meeting to the public. This is a summit being called as an urgent emergency meeting, to a crisis that is being pushed into our residential communities. This is not about opinions but FACTS.”
He also noted that those who wish to attend must register at OZPKRBA@aol.com to receive proper credentials to gain entry to the summit.
Select public officials have been invited to speak at the confab and “guide us, counsel us and see if they can create change in Albany and NYC,” Esposito added. He issued a separate call to action to those pols.
“This meeting should be a testament to the dedication we have to work towards a solution and the love and concern we have for the communities we all represent,” Esposito wrote. “We hope you will join us and speak to the NYC neighborhood activists who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of their communities.”