Last week, civic leader Kathy Masi said that the shelter’s residents constantly have visitors from friends, despite COVID-19 rules that suggest residents stay indoors, avoid unnecessary travel and keep a safe distance from others.
“None of this is happening at the Cooper Avenue shelter,” Masi said. “Shelter residents are not only not practicing social distancing, they are congregating in groups on the shelter grounds, as well as in the community.”
The Cooper Avenue shelter isn’t the only homeless residence where local residents have concerns.
Last Thursday, members of the Ditmars Boulevard Block Association in East Elmhurst penned a letter to elected officials, including the mayor, notifying them about issues they have withhomeless shelter residents in the area.
Frank Taylor, the group’s president, said in the missive that the “improperly managed homeless shelters” were sited in the neighborhood without notice or input from residents in the first place, such as the Ibis Hotel.
“There is obvious neglect in management and monitoring,” Taylor wrote, “as shelter residents walk through our East Elmhurst neighborhood at all times of the evening.”
He noted that earlier this year, there was a murder and death of two infants at The Landing Family Shelter, which is also in East Elmhurst.
Taylor said homeless residents openly drink alcohol, smoke unknown substances on the street, verbally intimidate and clash with residents, yet “neither constraints nor penalties are imposed.” He added that their complaints have gone unheeded.
“The failure of our representatives in this instance is a prime example of taxation without representation,” he wrote. “We demand action, not just platitudes.”