Earlier this month, the non-profit organization Samaritan Village sent a letter to Community Board 5 stating that they had submitted a proposal to the Department of Homeless Services requesting to convert the defunct factory at 78-16 Cooper Avenue into a transitional facility.
The shelter would provide 125 families with a place to live while they look for permanent homes.
“This is the wrong location and the wrong size,” said Astoria Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr., who is also running for Queens borough president. “This community has been taking care of the homeless for a long time in small shelters run by churches and small groups.”
Vallone criticized the city for offering the owner a sale price no private person could match.
“They are offering the owner our tax money to put this here,” he said. “These kids will have to go into these overcrowded schools. No neighborhood can absorb 125 homeless families in one shot.”
Opponents cited the lack of mass transit options - the site is located in front of a busy street with little public transportation – as a reason to oppose the shelter.
Fabio DiMaria owns Saverio’s Stone Fire Bistro, which is located next door to the proposed shelter. He fears losing business after spending roughly $5 million to renovate his space.
“We don’t know anything about this homeless shelter,” DiMaria said. “It could damage our business and we don’t want that to happen. I’m hoping that we can fight it and get something done.”
Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr. at a rally to oppose a proposed homeless shelter at 78-16 Cooper Avenue in Glendale.