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City Backs Off Maspeth Homeless Shelter Plan After Local Opposition

By Katie Honan | October 10, 2016 5:33pm
 Maspeth residents came to Windsor Terrace on Sept. 15 to protest in front of Commissioner Steven Banks' home over a proposed homeless shelter in their neighborhood. Mayor Bill de Blasio challenged them to protest at his house instead.
Maspeth residents came to Windsor Terrace on Sept. 15 to protest in front of Commissioner Steven Banks' home over a proposed homeless shelter in their neighborhood. Mayor Bill de Blasio challenged them to protest at his house instead.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

MASPETH — The city has dropped its plan to fully convert a Holiday Inn Express into a homeless shelter, citing local opposition that includes numerous protests from neighbors — but still plans to rent rooms to house homeless people there.

The hotel near Maurice Avenue and the Long Island Expressway had been eyed as a full shelter by the city and its owner, Harsh Patel, for months.

That plan was vehemently opposed by Maspeth residents and elected officials — who sued the city. Thousands also protested in front of the hotel, and would later travel to Commissioner Steven Banks' Windsor Terrace home to continue their fight. 

Late Monday afternoon, the city announced the protests were successful.

"Due to local opposition to housing homeless New Yorkers, we have not been able to convert this site into a full shelter at this time," Department of Homeless Services spokeswoman Lauren Gray said in a statement.

Instead, the city is "renting rooms for employed single adults and providing onsite services and security."

It's not clear how many rooms will be rented to the homeless.

The Maspeth protests began as soon as plans for the conversion were revealed in August. The hotel's owner, Patel, later said the hotel would not be converted to a shelter, although the city said last month they were still negotiating. 

The large group had also taken their signs, whistles and megaphones to another hotel owned by Patel in Bellerose that is used by the city to house homeless families.