2018-05-23 / Front Page

Stavisky Announces Legislation To Make City Shelters More Habitable

NYS Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, joined by advocacy group Elmhurst United, announced legislation she recently introduced that would mandate homeless family shelter units to have working kitchens. The shelter units at Pan Am cost taxpayers $5,000 each, per month.NYS Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, joined by advocacy group Elmhurst United, announced legislation she recently introduced that would mandate homeless family shelter units to have working kitchens. The shelter units at Pan Am cost taxpayers $5,000 each, per month.NYS Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, joined by advocacy group Elmhurst United, announced legislation she recently introduced that would mandate homeless family shelter units to have working kitchens.

The bill, S.7181A, would require family homeless shelters for 10 or more families to have working kitchens within 60 days of the registration of the contract between the operator of the shelter and the City of New York. It is in direct response to the recent and controversial uptick of repurposed hotels being used as homeless shelters. In Senate District 16, the city notoriously came under fire for turning the former Pan American Hotel on Queens Boulevard into a family shelter without supplying functioning kitchens in each $5,000 per month unit, Stavisky explained.

“Denying the residents of New York homeless shelters access to working kitchens is wrong,” Senator Stavisky said. “A parent should be able to provide their family with a healthy, sustainable meal instead of resorting to fast food and snacks as many Pan Am residents were forced to do. I am calling on my colleagues in the State Senate and Assembly to pass this legislation to ensure our shelters are more humane and habitable places.”

Senator Stavisky has remained a steadfast advocate in calling for improving the conditions at the Pan American hotel as well as hotels across New York City. In response, the Pan Am is currently installing kitchens in each of the units. She has repeatedly called on the owners of the hotels, Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Homeless Services to ensure necessities such as functioning kitchens and play areas for children are installed in the hotels before they are repurposed and turned into shelters.

Elmhurst United, an activist group who has pushed the city to improve conditions at the Pan Am said in a collective statement, “Elmhurst United commends Senator Stavisky for her continued support in ensuring shelter providers are held accountable in providing the agreed upon services and living quarters.  This proposed law aligns New York State with New York City law requiring each unit to be equipped with the basic essentials of a cooking facility. At a cost of $5,000+ per room, per month, DHS and the landlord, Steven Berger, have failed to comply with their $66 million, six-year contract. In addition, Berger and the city are contractually committed to adding a day care center which was paid for with taxpayer dollars, but has yet to establish plans to fulfill this obligation. Since 2014, the city has committed to decreasing the number of homeless, cease using hotels as shelters and ensuring that families are placed within their home base. Not one of these commitments has been met. Additionally, it is disgraceful that with the billions spent to address this problem that the number of homeless continues to grow exponentially with no curtailment in sight.”

To learn more about Senator Stavisky’s legislation visit: www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2017/s7181/amendment/a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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