The battle over a proposed homeless shelter in Glendale queens is heating up again as the city considers a location near a toxic chemical plant. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
The city could approve a plan to house homeless families inside an old textile factory on Cooper Avenue, just yards away from a toxic chemical plant.
Civic leaders say that's a bad mix.
"It is mind boggling that the city of New York could even think about putting
a homeless shelter next to a chemical plant. It's ridiculous," says Robert Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association.
Samaritan Village is looking for a five-year, $27 million contract with the city, to
house more than 100 homeless families.
Hydrocloric acid and formaldehyde are stored at the plant and critics say this is yet another reason why they don't want a homeless facility here.
"I am very concerned that anyone would think to put a homeless shelter
next to this kind of plant. It's dangerous if you're responsible and it should
be stopped," says Katherine Masi of the Glendale Civic Association.
Owner Jonathan Spielman of Independent Chemicals Corporation claims his facility is
In 1996, several employees and firefighters suffered minor injuries when two substances were mixed during a washing.
Spielman says that was nearly 20 years ago.
"For 65 years we have been in this area is an industrial concern. We are very proud of our safety and our operations. We employ 50 people and we are very proud to be an active member of this community. We are most concerned about what this homeless shelter would do to the community, by having the change in traffic. The change in people," Spielman says.
The Department of homeless services is reviewing the plan. It says an
environmental study is being done on the proposed shelter location.
Results are expected next month.
Many residents have been fighting against the proposal for about two years.
They say they are not against homeless shelters in their neighborhood; they just
don't want a large facility here.
"What we said all along is we'll take homeless facilities that blend into the
neighborhood and I think everybody wants that. I think even the mayor wants that.
Two and three family homes—that's what we have here. That's what would look good," Holden says.
For now, they will have to wait and see what the city does with this location.