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City Plans Second Homeless Shelter in Rockaway, Local Pol Says

By Katie Honan | October 20, 2014 5:13pm
 Local representatives were informed Monday about the plan to open a shelter on Beach 8th Street in Far Rockaway. 
Local representatives were informed Monday about the plan to open a shelter on Beach 8th Street in Far Rockaway. 
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FAR ROCKAWAY — Another homeless shelter will open in the next few weeks in Rockaway, the second to open on the peninsula this year, according to an elected official and the local community board.

The Department of Homeless Services will open a shelter for single men in a former nursing home on Beach 8th Street that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, according to Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder.

The pol said the plan is a "fundamental failure" by the city agency because it places residents in a known flood zone.

"We're putting more vulnerable people in our most vulnerable areas," he said.

"Commissioner [Gilbert] Taylor's gotta go — he's perpetuating the problem of homelessness throughout our city," he said. "He should be fired immediately."

A spokeswoman for DHS said the agency "is looking at every viable site as we continue to meet our moral and legal obligation to shelter those in need." 

"I hope communities are compassionate towards our families, because you never know when you may need assistance," the spokeswoman said. 

An official with DHS said the shelter is set to open next month, but an exact date isn't clear.

There are currently more than 57,000 people in the city's shelter system, and 7,920 are single men, according to the most recent statistics.

The city's homeless population surged more than 20,000 over the last five years. 

And the total number of homeless people has gone up 3,000 since July, when DHS opened a facility for adult families in Arverne.

At the time, an official with DHS pointed out that there weren't any homeless shelters on the Rockaway peninsula and asked residents to “find it in themselves to embrace these families in their communities as we help them rebuild their lives.”

After protests against a shelter that quietly opened in the former Pan Am Hotel in Elmhurst, Taylor and DHS instituted a seven-day mandate to notify the impacted communities when they plan to put a shelter in

The Rockaway shelter is in the first stage of this process.

The process starts with notification of the borough president, the neighborhood's political representatives, its community board and precinct.

Town hall meetings and other interactions with residents were also part of the overhaul, according to DHS.