Dec. 30, 2020 By Christian Murray
The Department of Homeless Services will be opening a shelter for senior women in Douglaston at the end of next year.
DHS will open the facility at 243-02 Northern Blvd. and it will serve 75 adult women over the age of 50. The facility will open where Pride of Judea Community Services was located.
The news of the shelter was announced Tuesday by Council Member Paul Vallone, who received a letter from DHS on Dec. 22 informing him of the opening.
The initial plan called for a men’s shelter at the site and it got pushback from Vallone, State Sen. John Liu and Assembly Member Edward Braunstein. After much discussion, DHS revised the plan and notified the three lawmakers yesterday that it would be a women’s facility, according to a spokesperson for Vallone’s office.
“While we believe this is a better outcome for the community at large, we are still disappointed to see DHS adopt policies where key decisions are made without ever engaging local stakeholders and community members,” they said in a joint statement.
The DHS did not address the last-minute change to the plan but said that the opening of the shelter is part of the mayor’s overarching plan to “turn the tide” on homelessness. That plan involves ending the use of cluster sites and commercial hotel facilities–and opening around 90 traditional shelters. The plan also calls for revamping about 30 existing sites.
The DHS also noted that were no shelter locations in the district—Community District 11– and that shelters are to be distributed equitability across the five boroughs.
“This new high-quality facility will be the first traditional shelter in this Community District, offering 75 senior women experiencing homelessness the opportunity to get back on their feet safely and closer to their anchors of life, like jobs, healthcare, family, and houses of worship,” said Neha Sharma, a spokesperson for the agency.
The agency said homeless women from the district will be given priority in terms of admittance to the shelter.
DHS says that it plans to work with the community from now until the new shelter opens.
“Our goal is to guarantee that our facilities are seamlessly integrated into each community so that our shelters are good neighbors and our clients receive a warm welcome,” DHS said in a letter sent to Vallone.
“We encourage community members to partner with us by volunteering time and talents and/or joining the Community Advisory Board.”
The Douglaston site will be managed by the non-profit provider Samaritan Village, which will offer services such as on-site medical and mental health services, case management, counseling and employment counseling.