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Community Board Asks the City Not to Build More Shelters in Jamaica

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | December 22, 2014 1:15pm
 The Jamaica community board is asking the city to stop building homeless shelters in the area.
The Jamaica community board is asking the city to stop building homeless shelters in the area.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS — The Jamaica community board is asking the city to stop building homeless shelters in the area.

Ten out of 22 homeless shelters in Queens are located within Community Board 12, which includes Jamaica, Hollis, St. Albans and Springfield Gardens, according to the city’s Department of Homeless Services.

“We have more shelters than any community board in Queens county,” said Yvonne Reddick, the board's district manager.

The board recently passed a resolution requesting a moratorium on building or expanding homeless shelters in the area.

“The city’s practice of concentrating excessive numbers of homeless ... populations within Community Board 12, Queens has been pervasive for several years,” the resolution read.

The document also requests that the DHS adopt “a policy regarding the equitable distribution" of homeless shelters among all community districts in Queens.

Local City Councilman Daneek Miller said he supports the resolution and pointed out that some community boards in the borough don’t have any homeless shelters.

“We understand that there is a need, but we are disproportionately impacted,” Miller said.

Reddick noted that shelters bring additional people to the neighborhood. The area, however, is not getting any extra services, such as additional buses, police officers or sanitation services.

The non-binding resolution will be sent to local elected officials as well as Mayor Bill de Blasio and the DHS, the board said.

“Our city faces real challenges to temporarily house homeless families and individuals,” a DHS spokeswoman said in an email. “Though Queens does have considerably fewer shelters than the other boroughs, we hear the concerns of the community and look forward to continuing our partnership.”

There are 255 homeless shelters in the entire city, according to statistics provided by the DHS. Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx have more than 70 shelters each.