BY JORDAN GIBBONS
Community Board 12 unanimously passed a resolution requesting a moratorium on building or expanding any homeless shelters in the area on Dec. 10.
Based on the 10 homeless shelters that already exist within the board’s coverage area out of 21 in Queens, board members decided that other parts of Queens should be equally responsible for contributing to the mission of the Dept. of Homeless Services to overcome homelessness in New York City.
The resolution stated, “the City’s practice of concentrating excessive numbers of homeless and other problem populations within Community Board 12 Queens has been pervasive for several years.”
The amount of shelters has placed a strain on the community’s resources due to a lack of impartiality and has taken a toll on residents in the area, according to the resolution.
So far this year, three shelters have been added to Queens, which has a significantly smaller numbers of shelters than the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan, but the two shelters added in western Queens were met with community backlash.
The resolution requested that DHS adopts a policy of equitable distribution of problem populations among all community districts in Queens.
After the resolution passed, Adrienne Adams, chair of CB 12, said that it will be sent out to Mayor Bill de Balsio, Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, DHS, all elected officials in Southeast Queens, all community boards and representatives from Greater Jamaica Development Corporation.
Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) said that he was glad the board passed the resolution because his district in the Rockaways is also burdened with a disproportionate number of shelters.
“It seems every time there is a shelter to go anywhere, those are the two community boards that get it,” he said. “There are many communities in New York City who do not do their fair share here and we should not look for the easiest places to put them when there are a lot of other worthy places in this City.
Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) also commented on equitable distribution for homeless shelters, but added that there should also be equal distribution for garbage cleanup throughout the City since Community Board 12 handles around 30 percent of waste disposal. He is currently working on getting a hearing for a waste transfer equity bill he introduced to change the percentage of sanitation responsibilities for each district in the City.
“The bill says that in the future, no community will be responsible for more than five percent capacity of garbage throughout the City at any given time,” he said. “The same bill, the same concept should apply as it pertains to shelters. We don’t mind doing our fair share, but it absolutely has to be equitable. You’re not doing it on the backs of Southeast Queens.”
Reach Reporter Jordan Gibbons at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 123, firstname.lastname@example.org or @jgibbons2.