Coalition founder Salvatore Crifasi said while the group has received nearly half of their $130,000 goal to carry out the suit, the group is now pushing for additional support in Middle Village.
“I’m really happy with the turnout that we’re getting and the response from the people,” Crifasi said in a phone interview last week. “We’re trying to push Middle Village because they’re going to be just as affected as Glendale.”
Crifasi helped found the coalition in response to a Samaritan Village application to convert the old factory to “stop the plan to warehouse homeless families on Cooper Avenue.”
The owner and president of Middle Village-based Crifasi Real Estate, Crifasi said his main focus is to represent the wishes and concerns of the group’s numerous donors.
“It’s going to have an effect on my business, but also the other members of my chamber,” he said, referring to the members of the Middle Village Chamber of Commerce.
Today, the coalition has made presentations before both Glendale and Middle Village civic associations to rally support, something he believes is growing with each meeting.
Middle Village resident John Pastor is one of the many that has donated to the group. He hopes they can raise enough support to take their fight to the steps of City Hall.
“This shelter could disrupt our community,” Pastor said. “People will likely leave or sell their homes and it could become a market for others to come in and buy. People like myself were expecting to retire here.”
Pastor, also a real estate broker, said he hopes the city can find an alternative and better way to house homeless New Yorkers.
“I’m suggesting that we create a homeless displacement program where a person comes into a home and stays there until they get back on their feet,” Pastor said. “What you don’t want is a mass of people coming in to occupy one space.”
Assemblywoman Marge Markey said she is concerned about the burden a population influx could have on the community, especially local schools.
“Overcrowding in our local schools is a long-standing problem that has not been adequately addressed over many, many years,” Markey said.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley has been pushing for a school campus at the site instead of a homeless shelter, a plan Markey stands behind.
“Even though this property is not located in my district, I very much support the location of a school at this site if the Department of Education finds that there are no environmental concerns that would prevent it,” she added.
A DOE representative has previously stated that the city has no interest in developing a school at the site.