Residents speak out against proposed homeless shelter in East Elmhurst

EMBED </>More Videos

Carolina Leid reports from East Elmhurst. (WABC)

You could say a battle is brewing in East Elmhurst, Queens but residents say that would imply a fair fight.

"They are not here for us to help them, they are here to leach off of us and off of our system," a speaker said.

They don't want the Westway Motel turned into the city's newest homeless shelter. They say city leaders never asked them for their opinions much less their permission.

"You don't help them by putting seven people in a room that we're paying $3,000 a month for Mr. Mathematician," a speaker yelled.

More than 100 people rallied in Astoria vowing to stop this from happening and hoping to rescue their community.

It's not the first time residents have fought back. Thursday night, Elmhurst homeowners tried to stop the Pan Am Hotel from also housing homeless families.

"We will work with you on a plan, and I ask that you be patient with us as we go through this process," a panelist said.

A Department of Homeless Services spokesperson pointed out that these people are protesting families with children.

Saying in a statement, "The city is facing a record census of homeless families and individuals. We hope others find it in themselves to embrace these families with children with nowhere else to turn as we help them to rebuild their lives."

But residents say they are fighting for their families.

"This is a travesty and you are not helping these people, you are aiding them to mooch off of people like me who has struggled," a woman said.

The borough has the least amount of homeless shelters in the city.
Related Topics:
societyhomelessEast Elmhurst
(Copyright ©2018 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)