The Pan Am shelter (now called Boulevard Family Shelter) located at 79-00 Queens Blvd, has 216 rooms. It currently has filled over 200 rooms, so it is almost at capacity. Most of the rooms have two sets of bunk-beds, so four individuals may be crammed into each room. The Shelter was set up without notice to the Elmhurst Community, so we were not able to express our concerns or needs. The Dept of Homeless Services’ response was that this shelter was put in based on a temporary Emergency Order from the Mayor’s office, therefore they do not require input from the Community. Normally, Shelters of this size require Community input thru the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), the City’s procurement process.The duration of the temporary measure is suppose to be six months. In NYC, 95% of temporary shelters become permanent.
Each room costs the Taxpayers of NY, $3,000-$3,800 per ROOM per MONTH. Samaritan Village runs the Shelter for the City. Its executives have strong political connections to the city’s political elite.
Summary of the Winners and Losers:
1) Landlords (Berger) andSamaritan Village collects $3,700+ per room (over $9,600,000 dollars/Year)
2) Dept of Homeless Services(DHS) – They have job security as long as there is a homeless population.
1) Homeless residents – they are crammed into a small room, living closely with other homeless residents they do not know. Since there are no background checks or even identity checks required for admittance,they live in fear of who their neighbors are.The Pan Am shelter has no kitchens so the residents are forced to eat microwave-able or take-out food.
2) Elmhurst Residents – essential services (Police, Fire, Hospital, School) are exhausted because 700+ new residents are packed into a hotel with no new resources allocated to the Community. on June 14, 2016 various news outlet reported that two level 3 sex offenders registered 7900 queens Blvd as their residency.
3) Taxpayers- higher taxes because the city over paid ($3,700+ per room/month)