The fight continues. Once again, frustrated residents of the Elmhurst community, over 1000 strong, came out to loudly protest the conversion of the Pan American Hotel into a homeless shelter. This was the second major protest since the first one over a month ago when the NYC Dept of Homeless Services moved in 41 homeless families surreptitiously and illegally without community notification. The next protest will be at City Hall. All Queens homeowners who are concerned about the quality of life in their communities need to be there.
Since the last protest, DHS has ignored the complaints, steamrolling over the neighborhood with impunity. Instead, they have accelerated the process, moving in 20 families every day, and now estimates are that over 600 residents occupy the shelter according to Bob Wong, President of the Elmhurst Block Association.
Over the past month, local businesses have been complaining about a steady stream of petty theft, looting, use of bathrooms for washing, and harassing customers by homeless people. The McDonald’s across the street from the shelter had its bathrooms vandalized. Local supermarkets have been subject to daily pilfering. Homeless customers have been eating at local restaurants and then leaving without paying. Police patrols have increased, business has been negatively impacted and homeowners are complaining that home values are going down since the homeless moved in.
The homeless people occupying the Pan American Hotel are not all from New York City. Fourteen homeless families are from out of state according to a community civic leader at the protest. He said that because of the liberal policies of our city, we have put out the welcome mat to every homeless person from across the nation and they will wind up in Queens because DHS officials now claim that our County does not have enough homeless shelters.
The human warehousing and trafficking that’s happening in Elmhurst, which already has it fair share of four social service facilities, is also occurring as homeless families are presently being trucked into the Westway Motel in East Elmhurst. The city also plans to open shelters in Rockaway and Glendale. Any hotel or empty warehouse can be flipped overnight into a homeless shelter as the de Blasio progressive agenda marches on. Not a single neighborhood in Queens is immune from the social engineering of our communities by the liberal Democrats at the helm. Most tellingly, not a single Democrat elected official was there at the rally.
Speaker after speaker came up front and center to the bullhorn to excoriate Mayor de Blasio, Comptroller Stringer, Dept of Homeless Services and Samaritan Village for steamrolling over the neighborhood with impunity. “No more shelter, no more lies!!” the crowd roared. “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, the mayor has to go!!” they chanted. They cried out: “Enough is enough!” One woman spoke out to de Blasio, demanding that he come back home from Italy, stop eating Pizza and do his job! Elmhurst hospital is the most overburden in the city. They said that our police, hospitals, schools and infrastructure are overtaxed already. We need more parks, more libraries, more hospitals and more schoolrooms, not more shelters!
We are concerned residents and homeowners of Queens. Wherever we are from, we should all come together and support the next rally at City Hall to speak out loudly and clearly that the Elmhurst Homeless Shelter must be closed down, because our communities are next.