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City Put Homeless Families in Corona Hotel Without Telling Locals: Pols

By Katie Honan | September 15, 2016 8:48am
 The city has been renting rooms at the Holiday Inn Express at 113-10 Horace Harding Expressway.
The city has been renting rooms at the Holiday Inn Express at 113-10 Horace Harding Expressway.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

CORONA — The city has been housing homeless families at a hotel along the Horace Harding Expressway for months without notifying the community, according to elected officials.

​State Sen. Jose Peralta, Assemblyman Francisco Moya and Rep. Joe Crowley released a joint statement Wednesday condemning the city's secrecy.

"The number of rooms being utilized for the purpose of housing the homeless has routinely exceeded 30 to 40 percent of the building's capacity, and neither elected officials nor the community were notified," they wrote.

It's not clear how many families have lived at the shelter. 

After the Pan Am shelter opened in the middle of the night in 2014 — without any notification to the community — the city instituted a seven-day community notification process.

A source said the shelter's been in operation for at least two months, and DHS didn't notify Corona officials because of the percentage of units being used as a shelter.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeless Services, Lauren Gray, confirmed they are "renting some rooms at this location to help meet its legal obligation to provide shelter to homeless New Yorkers who would otherwise be sleeping on the street."

"There are currently no plans to convert this location into a homeless shelter, but New York City’s legal obligation to provide shelter to a rising number of homeless New Yorkers has created a need to open additional shelters and rent hotel rooms across the city," she said.

She did not answer questions on how long they have been putting families into the hotel.

Last month, city officials confirmed they were renting rooms at a hotel on Queens Boulevard in Woodside for families, but didn't plan to make it permanent. 

Officials also said they were eyeing another Holiday Inn Express along the Long Island Expressway in Maspeth as a permanent shelter for adult families.

That hotel's owner later said he canceled the plans after numerous neighborhood protests

The city's DHS, though, said this week they were "still negotiating" the plan submitted by the Acacia Network, which manages 750 family units and four buildings for 550 homeless adults across the city. 

An employee at the Maspeth hotel said Wednesday they were told the conversion was postponed, but didn't have information that it was completely off the table.