October 15, 2015

Families of between two and four people were using bunk beds, there was a huge amount of garbage in the back of the building, the bathrooms were old and only a “little common area” was provided for food service, he said.
There have also been lead paint issues and rodent infestations.
“No homeless family should be taken advantage of because they are homeless,” Avella said.

October 16, 2015
Elizabeth Stevens, the shelter director(Of the Landing), said there is a plan to put kitchenettes, which are required by state law, in each of the shelter’s 169 units.

The absence of kitchens in each unit has been one of the reasons City Comptroller Scott Stringer has repeatedly rejected a proposed five year, $42 million contract between the city and Samaritan Village at the Pan American hotel in Elmhurst. In September, Stringer rejected the permanent contract for a third time arguing that the shelter had not rectified its violations, addressed the numerous complaints, nor demonstrated that the facility is a safe and proper site capable of being granted permanent status.

October 13, 2015
Thank You for coming out and supporting us everybody!



October 13, 2015
“This location has been plagued with numerous problems and poor conditions that have not served the homeless well,” she added. “In fact, it’s been a disservice to the homeless. I urge DHS to not resubmit its proposal for a fourth time.” Congresswoman Grace Meng

October 9, 2015
Failure to correct class 1 violation, which is the most hazarlous.

October 8, 2015

Homeless families began moving into the ex-hotel with the city’s blessing last year, even though DHS previously rejected the idea because the shelter units don’t have kitchens as the law mandates.


click picture to enlarge or connect to URL below.

October 1, 2015

UPDATE ON RALLY: Due to potentially severe weather from Hurricane Joaquin, the 10/4 Pan Am Rally has been postponed to next Sunday, October 11 at 12:00 noon. Please join us on this date to ensure your voices are heard.

The Elmhurst Community’s outpouring of support at the past three rallies, the assistance by numerous elected officials and the efforts made by Elmhurst United have shed light on the problems at the Pan Am shelter and resulted in three rejections of the contract by Comptroller Scott Stringer. It is vital that the neighborhood continue standing together and voicing concerns on issues impacting our community.

On Sunday, October 11, 12:00 noon, we ask that you show your continued support by attending a rally at the Pan Am site, 7900 Queens Boulevard. We need to send a message to the Mayor to not sign the $42 million dollar Pan Am contract and that warehousing the homeless in shelters do not work. There are more cost effective and humane options, such as affordable permanent housing.

We need all Elmhurst residents to attend this rally as the contract has not been signed. Please encourage your neighbors, friends and family to attend to show their support. Attached is a flyer with details.


September 1, 2015
Elmhurst United Praises NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer Third Rejection of the Pan Am Contract

Queens, New York – Elmhurst United and the Elmhurst community applaud Comptroller Scott Stringer in not wavering in his resolve to reject a contract where homeless families would live in a facility that is not safe and where violations and complaints have not been corrected. Anyone who compels the registration of this contract demonstrates that they do not share these same concerns and do not have the best interest of homeless families, or of the residents who live around the shelter, in mind.

DHS needs to ensure that the Pan Am shelter complies with NYC Administrative Code 21-124(b) which requires a cooking facility in each living unit. DHS’ workaround to this law of providing three meals a day, which has been described as subpar by residents, does not comply with this law. Many homeless residents purchase their own prepared meals outside, rather than eat these unsatisfactory meals provided by Samaritan Village, thus further straining their savings. Without a cooking facility in each unit, individuals will bring in personal cooking devices, although it is against shelter policy, which endanger families who live in and around the shelter. Additionally, the continuous invasion of privacy to check for these devices is unacceptable and dehumanizing.

Furthermore, the Pan Am shelter is currently operating with an expired Certificate of Occupancy. This renders parts of the building illegal and unsafe to occupy which needs to be immediately vacated. A new Certificate of Occupancy must be obtained in order to comply with NYC Department of Building code.

DHS should urge the landlord and Samaritan Village to correct all violations. The only action taken by Samaritan Village or the landlord appears to be the continuous postponement of court hearing dates. Applications to use taxpayer funds to pay for these corrections should be rejected as these should be solely borne by the landlord or Samaritan Village.

DHS’ strategy of rapidly increasing the number of shelters is not a viable solution. Permanent housing where one can call home is the only solution. Recent studies highlight the detrimental impact and the long lasting scars homelessness has on children. These children need a secure and stable environment, not a transient one. More rent subsidy programs must be reinstated so that these families are placed in permanent housing and close to their home base. The Pan Am shelter has proven to be an unworkable and unfit site. We urge DHS to stop warehousing homeless families at that Pan Am site and to place them in permanent housing instead.

Elmhurst United would like to thank Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Senator Tony Avella as well as all of our elected officials who continue to support and highlight the critical issues around this shelter.

Senators Avella and Klein Commend Third Rejection of Pan Am Contract

(Queens, New York) Today, State Senator Tony Avella and State Senator Jeff Klein commended New York City Comptroller Stringer for his rejection of Samaritan Village’s proposal to convert the former Pan Am hotel into a permanent shelter. This marks the third time Comptroller Stringer rejected the project out of concern for various violations and the location’s absence of kitchen facilities.

The former Pan Am hotel was converted into an emergency six month shelter that Samaritan Village subsequently attempted to make into a permanent homeless shelter. An application was submitted by Samaritan Village in November for a five-year contract with the Department of Homeless Services, amounting to $42 million. However, because of health and safety concerns, as well concerns about Samaritan Village’s blemished history of managing funds, the $42 million contract was denied twice by the Comptroller in May.

Pan Am is one of many temporary City shelters to be converted into a permanent shelter without notifying the surrounding community. In the case of Pan Am, the community voiced their concerns for the insufficiencies of the facility to their elected officials and contributed greatly to Stringers decision to reject the proposal. State Senator Klein introduced the bill S.4542, which would require the New York City Planning commission to hold a public community forum prior to the approval, modification or denial of a shelter site or lease renewal. As in the case of Pan Am, the community knows its own area best and was well aware of Pan Am’s deficiencies.

“I commend Scott Stringer for his consistent opposition to the transformation of Pan Am into a permanent shelter. It is shameful that Samaritan Village continues to push for a contract that is so glaringly in violation of city code. Regardless of one’s socio-economic situation, an individual has the right to a clean and safe environment. Pan Am lacks kitchens, has unreliable hot water and is troubled by an array of health and safety issues. The City should be allocating funds for homeless shelters that can cater to basic human needs rather than facilities that warehouse families. This project would have never gone as far as it has if the community was given proper notice and been able to voice their input. That is why, as a co-sponsor of the bill, I urge the Assembly to pass the companion legislation to State Senator Klein’s bill, and incorporate valuable community feedback into this process,” said State Senator Tony Avella (D-Queens-Bayside)

“Residents in Elmhurst spoke loud and clear when they declared the Pan Am site would inadequately serve homeless families. I once again applaud New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer for rejecting a $42 million, five year contract to Samaritan Village a third time. This violation-plagued building drew serious concerns from elected officials and neighbors, who all understand the need to house the homeless. The community knew the troubles this particular site posed and that’s why including community input in social service setting is imperative. The Senate overwhelmingly passed my legislation which would require community input and a City Planning Commission decision before a homeless shelter or any other social service provider move into a neighborhood. I urge the Assembly to act on this legislation,” said State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx-Westchester)

August 17, 2015
Pan Am Contract resubmitted to the Comptroller’s Office for a third time
On August 5, 2015, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and Samaritan Village re-submitted the $42.5 million Pan Am contract for a third time. This rushed resubmission appears to have been made without correction of serious violations and without compliance with city and state laws which include:
 Submitting a Certificate of Correction for the expired Certificate of Occupancy (CO) for the Lobby/First Floor of the building. All outstanding violations must be corrected prior to obtaining a new CO
 installing a cooking facility in each living unit
 repairing large sections of the crumbling façade wall
 correcting defects found on the building’s commercial boilers
 inspection of the exterior walls and appurtenances
Violations were also issued for work without a permit on their fire standpipe system and fire sprinkler system.
On July 8, 2015, Comptroller Scott Stringer allotted them additional time to remedy all outstanding violations and complaints as well as provide sufficient documentation to show that the Pan Am shelter is safe. Instead of utilizing this time to adhere to Comptroller Stringer’s request, DHS and Samaritan Village has carelessly and arbitrarily resubmitted this lucrative contract. The Comptroller has until September 4, 2015 to either sign or reject the contract.
What action the Community needs to take:
-Write and call your elected officials, including the Comptroller’s office (below is the link to contact information for each of our elected officials)
-Request a meeting with elected officials to express your concerns
-If you see something, say something. Report all violations to 311 or the proper authorities.
Our calls and letters have contributed to the past two rejections of this contract. Let’s continue the fight.
Thank you,
Members of Elmhurst United
Link to Pan Am contract submission
Link to Contact List for Elected Officials

July 16, 2015
Time to probe Homeless Services. Queens Courier Editorial calls for full investigation of DHS and its partners lucrative shelter contracts.


July 12, 2015
The fight is not over yet. DHS will try to re-submit this contract again. Residents please call our elected officials to voice your concerns.

July 10, 2015
Comptroller Scott Stringer Again Rejects $42 Million Pan Am Contract

Press Release from Elmhurst United:

We would like to thank Comptroller Scott Stringer for acknowledging that the numerous safety violations still have not been addressed, and for again rejecting the $42 million Pan Am shelter contract. This contract should never have reached the Comptroller’s office as the lack of a cooking facility in each unit and childcare facility would have rendered this contract illegal.

These hazardous conditions continues to exist at this site and homeless families remain at risk while housed in this facility. DHS should acknowledge that these cannot be fixed under the scope of their proposed contract. It should also be noted that major repairs of a private building should not be paid with taxpayer dollars. DHS should begin to pursue more competent shelter operators and better equipped facilities in order to house these vulnerable families.

On December 5, 2014, Samaritan Village’s $4.7 million six month emergency contract expired. We are calling for an investigation into how Samaritan Village, a so called “non-profit” organization, continues to operate this shelter without payment from a new contract.

We concur with Senator Stavisky’s recommendation to phase out the shelter as its residents locate new living quarters. This is a viable solution for all parties involved.

Elmhurst United would like to thank Senator Tony Avella and Senator Toby Ann Stavisky as well as our other elected officials for their continuing support on this issue.

Press Release from Senator Stavisky:

Contact: Elizabeth Wu – Senator Stavisky’s office (718) 445-0004
July 9, 2015

Stavisky Urges City to Phase Out Pan Am Shelter
With Contract Rejection, DHS Should Instead Find Permanent Housing and Alternative Shelter Sites

Elmhurst, NY—In light of Comptroller Scott Stringer’s recent rejection of Samaritan Village’s contract to operate a homeless shelter at the Pan American Hotel, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Elmhurst, Flushing) has renewed calls to phase out the shelter as permanent housing is found for current shelter residents.

“I want to thank New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer for carefully considering the troubling conditions at the Pan American Hotel and reaching the same conclusion that I have—that the Pan Am facility is not safely serving the families being housed at that shelter,” said Senator Stavisky. “Rejecting this contract is in the best interest of everyone. The Pan Am is far too cramped and lacks basic amenities, such as kitchens, which all families, especially those with babies and young children, desperately need and that are required by the City’s administrative code.”

Sen. Stavisky first voiced this proposal at the Town Hall hearing when the shelter was first opened last June.

“In previous statements, I have suggested that as families are transitioned into permanent housing, their rooms are vacated. Phasing out the shelter as it currently exists ensures that current residents are not evicted and that new residents are not moved into a sub-par facility.”

“Over the course of the last year, numerous incidents with rodents, leaking pipes, insufficient cooking and food storage facilities, and even a small fire, have demonstrated that this site is simply ill-equipped for use as a shelter for hundreds of people. DHS should use this time to search for other sites around the city as well as more permanent housing for families,” concluded Senator Stavisky.


July 9, 2015
Press Release from Senator Avella:

“I applaud Comptroller Stringer in his decision to reject this disgraceful contract proposal to convert the illegal Pan Am shelter into a permanent facility. Today, the voices of homeless families and the community as a whole have been heard. While I thank the Comptroller for his leadership on this issue, our work is not yet done. We must continue to work to fix this broken system – I urge the Assembly to pass companion legislation to Senator Klein’s bill to protect our neighborhoods going forward. We must ensure that our communities have a stage on which to raise their voices against future Pan Am sites,” said Senator Avella (D-Northeast Queens), Chair of the Senate Task Force on the Delivery of Social Services to New York City.

July 7, 2015
“Without the installation of cooking facilities in each unit, as required by law, the Pan Am contract as it stands is still illegal. By trade Commissioner Gilbert Taylor is a lawyer, so he is fully aware that this contract is a complete contradiction to the Request For Proposal (RFP) advertised on DHS’s website and also to New York City Administrative Code (NYC ADC) 21-124(b). Yet he still proceeds. Mr. Stringer, as an elected official, as a civil servant and as the Comptroller of NYC, we demand that you permanently reject the Pan Am contract. It is time for you to restore the people’s faith in our system of government and remind everyone that no one is above the law, regardless of their wealth, title or position of power,” said Anna Orjuela, Member of Elmhurst United.

July 7, 2015
“The city is violating its own laws, by trying to put homeless families here,” said State Senator Tony Avella.

July 7, 2015

July 7, 2015
“We cannot address the growing homeless population at the expense of homeless families and children, or the community as a whole,” said state Senator Tony Avella, who previously voiced his opposition of the homeless shelter and its conditions. “We must look to fix this broken system.”

July 7, 2015
新城公民協會主席Robert Valdes Clausell表示,紐約州規定12歲以上的男、女孩童不可同住一間房間,但入住泛美的家庭卻一家3、4個孩子被迫擠於同一間房間,違反了紐約州法,也違反人權。

July 7, 2015
“One thing the city is now saying is they’re going to put a commercial kitchen in the building,” he said. “You’re still violating the law. The law says when you house homeless families, they have to have a kitchen in that unit.”

July 7, 2015

July 7, 2015

July 6, 2015
Elmhurst United Newsletter–Hot off the press

June 30, 2015
Shelter Re-Applies for Contract Despite Unresolved Fire Safety Complaints

May 15, 2015
Mayor’s office vows to keep Pan Am homeless shelter open despite decision to reject the contract. Decision only delays signing of contract. Elmhurst Community must continue to voice their concerns by contacting elected officials. For contact information, see “Elected Officials” tab.

June 4, 2015
“The Department of Homeless Services has done a terrible job not only in working with the homeless, but also with the community,” Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder said.

June 4, 2015
“After the chaos created by DHS by its conversion of the nearby Westway Motel into a homeless shelter, without any community input, it would be inconceivable to me to learn that DHS would be planning to do the same at the former Clarion Hotel on Ditmars Boulevard,” State Senator Peralta said in a statement

May 19, 2015
Hundreds of residents at the 216-room shelter had to evacuate with only four employees on duty, and many told DNAinfo New York the process was “chaotic.”

Ticket No Violation Date Balance Due Paid Amount Status
035127434N 5/05/2015 0 0 NEW ISSUANCE (scheduled hearing on 6/23/2015 at 10:30AM)
012042456R 4/15/2015 0 0 NEW ISSUANCE (scheduled hearing on 6/1/2015 at 10:30AM)
011402156P 3/10/2015 $4,000 0 DEFAULTED
011402157R 3/10/2015 $30,000 0 DEFAULTED
012041031R 3/02/2015 $935 0 HEARING COMPLETED
012040323Y 2/04/2015 0 $935 PAID IN FULL
012038746N 11/24/2014 $935 0 HEARING COMPLETED
012035467R 7/25/2014 0 $935 PAID IN FULL
012035081Y 7/14/2014 0 $935 PAID IN FULL
012034891L 7/7/2014 0 $935 PAID IN FULL
012034661X 6/25/2014 $5,000 0 DOCKETED
10 Violations $40,870 $3740

May 15, 2015
“The poor conditions in the shelter system have been acknowledged by both Gov. Cuomo and Mayor De Blasio,” Hevesi said. “In the midst of the worst homeless crisis ever, these two gentlemen need to work together.”

May 14, 2015
Queen Chronicle op-ed: Gimme (better) shelter

May 14, 2015
In a statement issued Tuesday, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) praised Stringer for “taking a stand” in regard to the shelter and called on Mayor de Blasio to immediately remove DHS Commissioner Gilbert Taylor from his position.

May 13, 2015
The state provides the city with $635 million toward homeless aid. Because DHS failed to meet the deadline, on Tuesday the state began withholding funds for the 16 problem shelters.

May 13, 2015
In an ongoing dispute between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo over funding for homeless services, the state plans to withhold money from 16 New York City homeless shelters until conditions are improved.

May 11, 2015
NYC Comptroller, Scott Stringer rejects Pan Am Contract:
In light of this report, today, I am rejecting two permanent shelter contracts which I will not approve until my office receives assurances that anyone staying in these facilities will be safe, all outstanding violations and complaints have been corrected and all documentation that the requirements of the contracting process were met.

May 11, 2015
One mom who moved into the shelter in February with her two young daughters said conditions have just gotten worse as the months have gone on.
“It’s not safe here,” she said. “It’s disgusting.”

May 7, 2015
“As the weather gets warmer, the rats are coming out more and more in the daytime,” said Wong, a member of the civic group Elmhurst United who lives less than one block from the building. “Nobody here in the community created this problem. [The shelter’s operators] created it themselves.”

May 4, 2015
Congresswoman Grace Meng and State Senator Tobe Stavisky’s letter to OTDA commissioner Sharon Devine asking her agency to conduct a thorough review of the conditions in the Pan Am homeless shelter and if necessary closing it..

April 30, 2015
“Let me be clear: My office will not register any contract for a permanent homeless shelter where serious health and safety violations have been found,” Comptroller Scott Stringer said. “The recent Department of Investigation found shelter sites with rats, roaches, fire hazards-conditions which continue to this day at shelter sites around the city. This is not an environment in which any New Yorker should be living and it will not be tolerated.”

April 29, 2015
“Published reports today highlight substandard living conditions existing at the Pan American hotel in Elmhurst Queens,” Devine wrote. “We have concluded an independent inspection of that facility and have confirmed several serious violations.”

April 28, 2015
As of Monday, Samaritan’s long-term $42 million contract had yet to be registered by city Controller Scott Stringer, who told The News, “Let me be clear: my office will not register any contract for a permanent homeless shelter where serious health and safety violations have been found.”

Please sign this petition urging NYC Scott Stringer to reject the $42 million dollar contract between the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and Samaritan Village because it is illegal, too expensive, and there are many more viable alternatives to cramming the homeless into tiny motel rooms.

April 20, 2015
Elmhurst United Newsletter


April 16, 2015
Senator Tony Avella holds forum on effective and efficient delivery of social services in New York City

Elmhurst United’s letter to the Task Force on the Delivery of Social Services in New York City

March 19, 2015
From Sing Tao Daily, New york 2nd largest Chinese newspaper
Opinion: de Blasio Doesn’t Care About Asians

Opinion: de Blasio Doesn’t Care About Asians

Original article in Chinese

March 22, 2015
Mayor de Blasio and DHS gives slumlords $1,000 to take-in homeless families with tax payers money… Working class families must now work harder to feed the poor and fatten the rich.

December 11, 2014
Pan Am Homeless Shelter open violations as cited by the Department of Housing Preservation & Development:
-No Water
-No Heat
-Peeling of lead based paint hazard



November 19, 2014
More lies and deceptions from DHS

November 17, 2014


November 14, 2014
Cost breakdown of Samaritan Village’s contract with DHS for the operation of the 216 rooms Pan Am Homeless Shelter. This information was withheld from public viewing until it was announced by Calvin Pitter, Deputy Agency Chief Contracting officer as an addendum at the contract hearing on November 13 at 11:am. 6 hours before the time limit for viewing the proposed contract expires.

Fair Share Analysis made by DHS

Contract Public Hearing Flyer

November13PanAmPermHearingURGENT… Please read immediately…Pan Am Shelter to be made permanent. Public Hearing 11/13

11/5/14 — The former Pan Am Hotel, which opened June 5 as temporary emergency homeless shelter is now beginning the process of transitioning into a permanent shelter, according to the Department of Homeless Services.

A Contract Public Hearing will be held on:
Date: Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 10 AM
Place: 125 Worth Street, 2nd Fl Auditorium, NYC

The contract is between Dept of Homeless Services and Samaritan Village, to operate a Stand Alone Transitional Residence for the homeless located at 79-00 Queens Boulevard, Elmhurst, NY 11373.
It is a 5 year contract with a 4 year renewal clause… 9 Years.

Call your elected officials to express your concerns immediately. Do not delay!!!!

Stay tune for additional information and action. Save the 11/13 Date.

Share this with all you know.

Supporting documents: