The Glendale/Middle Village Coalition (GMVC), a group founded to block the planned shelter, claims in its legal proceeding that an Environmental Assessment Study (EAS) by the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) is riddled with flaws.
They also argue that the city did not properly sign off on required paperwork, part of the process to begin development at the site.
Todd Hamilton, assistant commissioner of capacity planning at DHS, said the agency has in fact acted within legal guidelines in moving ahead with the 125-family shelter and supported the findings of the EAS.
“DHS carefully considered each of these potential impacts in accordance with the technical manual and correctly determined that the project could not result in any significant adverse environmental impacts,” Hamilton testified.
He also pointed out the legal obligation to provide “transitional housing” options and social services to the city’s homeless population.
“Since DHS must, and does, shelter all eligible homeless families who require shelter, sufficient capacity must be available on an immediate basis for every person who seeks it,” he testified before the Supreme Court of New York County.
Kathy Masi, president of the Glendale Civic Association and member of the GMVC, said the group is in a tough position since they do not have the proper resources to conduct their own study.
“It’s difficult to argue this environmental study because we don’t really have access to the property to do a proper point of view,” Masi said. “They’re arguing something that we can’t argue unless the judge gives us access to the property, so we have to base everything on how it will impact the community.”
GMVC has raised nearly $70,000, a little more than halfway to their goal of $130,000 they say is necessary to sue the city over the shelter.
While Masi acknowledged the uphill battle the group faces in their legal pursuit, she stands behind the principals that led their organized community action.
“They didn’t take a hard look at this and they’re saying they took the requisite look,” Masi said, “and well that’s not good enough.”