Residents oppose plans to house homeless at hotel in Long Island City

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Josh Einiger reports on the controversy over plans to house homeless people at a Queens hotel.

There is opposition in Queens over plans to move hundreds of homeless men and women into a hotel in Long Island City.

With not that many people around, the small part of the community seems like a good place as any for the city to site a new homeless shelter.

Except people do live in the tiny neighborhood they call Blissville, which didn't quite feel that way Thursday night.

"To say that you're engaging the community in input and open dialogue is an absolutely vapid, stupid, meaningless statement when the decision has already been made to site the shelter," said resident Pat O'Brien.

Next month the city's Department of Homeless Services will buy out every room of the Marriott Fairfield Suites to house what they call adult families.

"This community is now housing more than four times the number of homeless individuals than we produce," said New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who called the meeting to protest what will be the third hotel turned shelter this year in just a few blocks.

One of them is the City View, which first housed women and children, young families.

And people there still haven't forgotten what happened next.

"This administration in the middle of the night with no notice to anyone threw those children and families out of that shelter," said Van Bramer. "I found out by watching Channel 7 News!"

As Eyewitness News uncovered in January, DHS turfed out those families with no warning to make way for adult men instead.

Thursday night there was an apology for that, but in Blissville, they feel like they have given enough, and they don't trust anything they hear from the city.

The de Blasio Administration insists they'll be ending the long-standing practice of housing homeless in hotels by 2022 but right now they've got too many people and not enough rooms for them, so they'll be taking the hotel next month no matter what the neighbors have to say about it.

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societyhomelesshotelLong Island CityQueensNew York City
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