Last Friday, all of the men who have been housed at the shelter on Beach 101st Street in Rockaway Park were relocated by bus to a commercial hotel, according to local activists. The facility will remain closed for at least six months to a year.
Torey Schnupp, a candidate for Democratic district leader in the area, said in a statement that their goal is to “prevent any more people from being warehoused” at the site.
“The practice of warehousing human beings has had grave consequences and has now forced homeless back into hotels, the very places the city was trying to phase out,” Schnupp said. “This reinforces the urgent need to provide permanent, responsible and low density affordable housing, along with supportive services, to suit the unique needs of the homeless population.”
In January, Schnupp and local attorney Mike Scala filed a lawsuit to stop the Beach 101st Street shelter. The Queens Supreme Court issued and then extended a temporary restraining order halting all activity on the facility.
The ruling delayed the planned opening of the shelter.
“We took the city to court and we won on more than one occasion,” Scala said in a statement. “We have been beyond frustrated by this administration’s failure to pursue sensible homelessness policies and refusal to respect the rules meant to protect everyone, and we’ve fought them every step of the way.”
In a joint statement, Councilman Eric Ulrich, State Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato said the Department of Homeless Services made the right decision to temporarily move the residents.
“Giving each resident an individual room will help maintain social distancing and slow the spread of COVID-19 among both the shelter and non-shelter population,” they said. “Frankly, they should have done it sooner.”