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Front Page March 12, 2009  RSS feed

SHELTER IN L.I. CITY IS PROPOSED

New Drop-In Facility For The Homeless
by Sam Goldman

AIDS Center of Queens County Executive Director Philip Glotzer discusses his group's proposal to operate a homeless shelter in Long Island City. (photo: Sam Goldman) AIDS Center of Queens County Executive Director Philip Glotzer discusses his group's proposal to operate a homeless shelter in Long Island City. (photo: Sam Goldman) A new homeless shelter in Long Island City is being proposed by a Rego Park-based anti-poverty and health agency.

Philip Glotzer, the executive director of the AIDS Center of Queens County (ACQC), announced at Community Board 2's Mar. 11 meeting at Sunnyside Community Services that they have submitted an application to run a 40-person homeless drop-in facility at 46-11A 11th St, one of the ACQC's current facilities.

"The problem, we all know, is that homelessness is increasingly dramatically," said Glotzer. "The economy is one of the major issues, of course."

According to Glotzer, Board 2 was found to be, along with Board 1 (Astoria/Steinway), Board 12 (Jamaica/Hollis/St. Albans) and Board 12 (the Rockaways), the areas of Queens most in need of homeless shelters.

The application to the Department of Homeless Services is part of the DHS' reorganization of homeless shelters citywide (reported on in the Jan. 12 edition of the Times Newsweekly.)

As part of that reorganization, which saw the closing of 24 faithbased shelters throughout the city— 13 in Queens—the city agency is seeking operators to run homeless shelters throughout the city.

"In essence, in their wisdom, by cutting back these supporting programs, they're almost saying that we will have more homeless, and they're coming out instead with more proposals now, for homelessness," said Glotzer.

Glotzer told Board 2 that the shelter, should it be approved, is supposed to begin operation July 1 and would operate seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

It would not have beds; a shuttle bus would take them to locations run by churches and synagogues where they could sleep.

"The goal is to get the clients off the streets," said Glotzer, explaining that the facility would offer case management, education, medical help and psychiatric assistance.

In the meantime, the facility would help find those clients temporary shelter.

Marvin Jeffcoat, who heads Board 2's Veterans Committee, asked Glotzer about the relationship between the new shelter and the Borden Avenue Veterans Shelter.

Glotzer replied that he hoped the relationship would be "synergistic." Residents of the Borden Avenue shelter have to leave during the day; the ACQC shelter would be able to offer them a place to go.

In response to questions from Board member Barbara Corcoran, Glotzer stated that "post-correctional" programs (of which the ACQC ran one) will be closed as part of the DHS' reorganization, but he added later that the facility could take in homeless ex-inmates.

The AIDS Center of Queens County began as a program to help those infected with HIV or AIDS, and operated the first needle exchange program in Queens.

It has evolved into an anti-poverty agency with locations in Long Island City, Rego Park, Jamaica and Far Rockaway, but remains the largest anti-AIDS service provider in the borough, serving approximately 5,500 people.