Maspeth is the latest community under the threat of a homeless shelter where it doesn’t belong.
Those in the business of running shelters will tell you they should be sited in neighborhoods where other services for the homeless are strong.
Services like job training, family counseling and top-notch after-school programs. Mass transit and subway options are of utmost importance so those who work can easily and quickly get there.
Maspeth has none of these services, and if you were to look at a subway map it is obvious there is no neighborhood in western Queens farther from the train than Maspeth.
The three-year-old Holiday Inn Express off Maurice Avenue near the Long Island Expressway is simply a bad location for provider Acacia to open a 115-family homeless shelter.
There are currently more than 55,000 people in New York City who are classified as homeless, but the type of person most people would associate with homelessness might not even be in the system.
When we see a person with a sign stating they are homeless, sitting on a street or waiting at a busy traffic signal begging for money, there is a good chance that he or she is not even counted in those homeless numbers.
That person often drifts from town to town to find a safe place to sleep. Most parents have nightmares about those people interacting with their children.
On the other hand, a good majority of the registered homeless currently or have recently had a job. It's difficult for most people in New York City to make ends meet, so it's easy to imagine how a person with a minimum wage job and possibly children to feed might not be able to pay rent in Queens.
There is a conception that the homeless are beggars and thieves. We know better.
Homeless want to live near schools, near a train and in areas where there are social services to help them. They don't want to live in desolate surroundings near factories, where this hotel is located.
None of these services are prevalent in Maspeth.