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Comptroller Rejects Permanent Contract for Shelter at Former Pan Am Hotel

By Katie Honan | May 11, 2015 6:33pm
 Comptroller Scott Stringer sent the contract back, citing health concerns for those living there.
Comptroller Scott Stringer sent the contract back, citing health concerns for those living there.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

ELMHURST — Comptroller Scott Stringer has rejected a contract for the homeless shelter in the former Pan Am Hotel, citing concerns about the safety of those living there, his office announced Monday. 

Stringer said he won't approve the permanent contract between the city and the shelter's operator, Samaritan Village, until his office "receives assurances that anyone staying in these facilities will be safe, all outstanding violations and complaints have been corrected and all documentation that the requirements of the contracting process were met."

The shelter, called the Boulevard Family Shelter, opened in June 2014 at 7900 Queens Blvd. in the former hotel. 

Nearly a dozen residents spoke to DNAinfo New York about conditions inside, saying the food was better in jail than what was provided at the shelter.

The 216 rooms lack kitchens, which are required by law. 

Stringer's office sent the permanent contract back to the administration along with a contract for a shelter on West 45th Street in Manhattan run by Aguila Inc., his office said.

Earlier Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the creation of multi-agency repair teams that will work to combat unhealthy and unsafe conditions at hundreds of city shelters.

"The City is sending SWAT teams to do top to bottom inspections and repairs at over 500 shelters, and by bringing providers into contract, we can ensure greater oversight of and accountability from our providers moving forward," said Ishanee Parikh, a spokeswoman with the Mayor's Office.

"Stalling this process doesn't help those in need," she said.

When asked about the conditions at the shelter inside the Pan Am, specifically the lack of kitchens that are required by law, DHS Commissioner Gilbert Taylor said they didn't have any immediate plans to add them. 

"We don’t have a plan yet to install cooking facilities in that location. We’re not certain that that would be actually the best thing for us to do," he said.

Samaritan Village did not immediately respond to a request for comment.