Public hearing scheduled on future of Westway Homeless Shelter
Next Thursday, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) will host a public hearing to give local residents a say on the transformation of the Westway Motel into a permanent homeless shelter.
The agency unexpectedly turned the former hotel — located at 71-11 Astoria Blvd. — into an emergency long-term shelter for 121 families six months ago. Since then, the shelter has been on the receiving end of harsh criticism and backlash from both residents and local elected officials.
Under the current contract, the city can use the emergency shelter for six months before it must be closed or turned into a permanent shelter. Now that the six months is up, DHS is going through the process of making the shelter permanent, part of which is a required public hearing.
The hearing is scheduled for next Thursday, Jan. 15, at 10 a.m. at 125 Worth Street in Manhattan.
Some residents are concerned and angered about the time and location of the meeting.
One online commenter said, “I don’t understand how it’s fair to the community to hold a meeting in downtown Manhattan at 10 AM on a weekday. Makes zero sense. Can someone explain how i’m supposed to close my company up for a few hours to go voice my opinion at this meeting?”