2016-11-02 / Features

E. Elmhurst Corona Alliance Protests New Shelter


The East Elmhurst Corona Alliance, joined by former state Senator Hiram Monserrate, protest the siting of an eighth homeless shelter in their community, the Marriot Courtyard Hotel on Ditmars Boulevard. The East Elmhurst Corona Alliance, joined by former state Senator Hiram Monserrate, protest the siting of an eighth homeless shelter in their community, the Marriot Courtyard Hotel on Ditmars Boulevard. The East Elmhurst Corona Alliance, “a community-based grass roots organization specifically formed to voice the community’s opposition to additional shelters and promote the quality of life in our neighborhood,” held a rally against the siting of an additional shelter at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel on Ditmars Boulevard, near 90th Street. “The greater East Elmhurst/Corona community is already home to at least seven homeless shelters which have negatively impacted the quality of life of our community,” stated the Alliance in a release.

“We formed this Alliance because we are fed up with how the City is treating our neighborhood. I am a lifelong member of this community. I have two daughters and a grandson, and we love this community. It is unfair to impose on this community masses of displaced people in such a small geographical area,” said Talea Wufka, an organizer and member of the Alliance.

Former state Senator Hiram Monserrate who joined the Alliance stated, “The issue of homelessness is not new. It has been decades in the making. However, the East Elmhurst and Corona community has borne the brunt of this band-aid approach to homelessness. “Simply put, enough is enough. The City is abusing the good will of this community which has been extremely generous and caring regarding the social needs of fellow City residents; but by dumping a disproportionate number of homeless shelters and over-saturating this community with these facilities we have become a model of failed policies and negative social engineering. It’s outrageous and unacceptable. The City needs a real affordable housing program that provides real, permanent housing. A hotel room is not a home.”

David Aiken, another Alliance member stated, “I was born and raised in this community. I am a father of three children who live in this neighborhood. The placing of another homeless shelter is an outright abuse of this community and it needs to stop!”

Jesus Gonzalez, who resides on 100th Street in East Elmhurst commented, “I stand with the Alliance in that the City needs to stop creating more shelters in our community. It is patently unfair and hurts our local economy.”

The Alliance is growing quickly and has support from a broad spectrum of community members. Eduardo Giraldo, the former President of the Queens Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Alliance, noted, “I can sympathize with the homeless and understand the City’s desire to ensure people have a place to sleep, but instead of the City spending over $3,000 a month for one room in a hotel they should build more affordable housing.”

The East Elmhurst Corona Alliance said it will continue to build and opposes the City’s plan for this and any other new shelter from being designated in their community. They promised to keep the community and the media abreast of their next action.

A list of shelters, mostly hotels completely or partially converted to homeless shelters by the City, follows:

 The Kings Inn
 The Clarion Hotel
 The Westway Hotel
 The Pan American Hotel
 Holiday Inn Express
 Metro Motel
 Corona Family Residence
 Courtyard by Marriot

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