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City to Open Women's Homeless Shelter at Long Island City Hotel

 The city plans to open a 200-person homeless shelter for single women at a hotel in Long Island City.
The city plans to open a 200-person homeless shelter for single women at a hotel in Long Island City.
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DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

DUTCH KILLS — The city will open a homeless shelter for women at a hotel in Long Island City later this week, spurred by rising number of single adult women entering the shelter system, officials said.

The new shelter will open Friday at Verve Hotel on 29th Street and 40th Avenue in Dutch Kills, where it will house up to 200 women and offer social services like mental health treatment and money management.

The city said they opened the shelter in response to a 9 percent increase in the number of women living in the city's homeless shelters.

"We're seeing more single adult women entering our shelter system," Ishanee Parikh, a spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, said in a statement.

"We want to ensure we can provide shelter and services — including employment services and clinical services — to these women as they rebuild their lives."

The LIC Post first reported news of the shelter's opening.

The site is one of dozens of hotels in Dutch Kills and Queens Plaza, and one of several in the city that has been converted to shelter space in recent years.

A shelter for families was opened at the Pan Am Hotel in Elmhurst last year, and the Department of Homeless Services temporarily rented a number of rooms at a hotel in Jamaica in February.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris said the proliferation of hotels in Long Island City had some residents worried that one would eventually be used for something other than tourist's lodgings.

"The residents of Dutch Kills have rightly been concerned that the massive number of hotels opening in their midst would be converted to other uses and this news confirms their fears," he said in a statement.

The new shelter site is located in Queens Community Board 1, which is currently home to one other homeless shelter at the Westway Motor Inn in East Elmhurst.

Florence Koulouris, district manager for CB1, said the board was told about the shelter plan last week and met with city officials about it on Friday. A main concern is the shelter's proximity to Growing Up Green Charter School nearby, she said.

"We want people to have a place to stay — its very important to have a place to stay," she said. "But is this really the right location? It's a question that hasn't been answered."

City officials said the shelter will have 24-hour security staff located on all six floors of the building, as well as security cameras on each floor. The front entrance will also be staffed with three security guards and an x-ray scanner.

There are currently 57,237 people in the city's shelter system, according to the city, including 12,316 single adults and 40,383 families with children.