By Domenick Rafter
Editor in Chief
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) put cold water on rumors that Gov. Andrew Cuomo was eyeing the vacant Creedmoor Psychiatric Center tower in Bellerose to house homeless persons.
Several news outlets reported over the weekend that Cuomo was looking into using the vacant tower on Winchester Boulevard and Union Turnpike as part of a plan to put homeless persons into a shelter. He was allegedly also eyeing several other vacant psychiatric centers across the state.
But Avella released a statement on Tuesday stating that the governor had dropped any consideration of using the center.
“When I originally came across the rumor that the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center was being considered for housing the homeless, I reasoned that there was no way such an awful proposal could be taken seriously, but experience told me that worse ideas have been considered,” he said in a statement. “After several calls, I can confirm that the Governor’s office has no intention in using this facility to house the homeless population.”
Avella added that he feared the city would be receptive to the idea, which according to the Daily News was receptive to the idea, but later confirmed that they, too, would be dropping the idea.
“I am pleased to confirm that the City will not be seeking to use the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center for homeless services either,” he said in a statement released a few hours later. “Commissioner Steven Banks of the Human Resources Administration, who has also been tasked with reviewing the Department of Homeless Services, confirmed that there are no plans to use the site because it is an asset of the State.”
Gov. Cuomo’s office did not respond to request for comment on the story, but several published reporters stated that he planned on outlining a strategy to deal with the growing homeless population both in the city and elsewhere in the state, during his State of the State address next month.
Recently, Cuomo, who has had a long tense relationship with Mayor Bill de Blasio, criticized the mayor’s handling of the homeless issue.