QUEENS — Maspeth residents fighting to keep a homeless shelter out of their neighborhood are escalating their protests to the front steps of Human Resources Administration commissioner Steven Banks's Brooklyn home — in what the city is calling the latest threat tactic against him.
Protesters will board a bus Thursday night outside the Holiday Inn Express at 59-40 55th Road, near Maurice Avenue — where city officials say they are still negotiating an adult family shelter plan despite the owner saying it won't happen — and ride to Banks' Windsor Terrace home.
"The protests at the Holiday Inn Express in Maspeth are being taken on the road," organizer and civic activist Robert Holden wrote in an email sent out to reporters.
City officials said the NYPD is aware of the protest and will be present. They did not say whether the protest had a permit.
Banks — who the city tapped to handle its homeless shelter plan — has been personally targeted by protestors over the shelter plan, and was booed and called a failure during a meeting in August to discuss the proposal. Thousands of protestors also turned their backs to him en masse at the same meeting.
Banks filed a formal complaint to the NYPD on Sept. 14 for aggravated harassment over threats he received about the shelter, according to the police department. The details of the threats or the date they were received were not released.
A spokeswoman for the mayor's office, Aja Worthy-Davis, decried the protest and community reaction.
“Intimidation and threats are not how we resolve problems in New York City," she said.
"The city will continue to engage with community members regarding this proposal, but New York City will not stand for the harassment of a government official and his family at their home. Expanding our city’s shelters is not easy or popular, but New Yorkers deserve substantive action that recognizes the simple truth that the citywide issue of homelessness requires an equitable, citywide solution.”
Opponents have been vehemently fighting the shelter after the proposal first emerged in August, and thousands have marched in front of the Holiday Inn Express since then.
At a meeting last month with the city, including Banks, many threatened further protests — including shutting down the nearby Long Island Expressway.
The hotel's owner, Harshad Patel, said last week the shelter plan would not go through at his hotel, but the city says they are still negotiating.