Shelter Site Environmentally Safe

BY LUIS GRONDA
Staff Writer

The City will move forward with a proposed homeless shelter in Glendale.

Many residents and local officials opposed to the shelter have said in the past that the building is not the right location for the shelter because of possible chemical remnants left at the site. The building was a factory where airplane parts were made.

But in a letter to Communty Board 5 and several local elected officials, which was dated July 1, the Dept. of Homeless Services said the report found the building environmentally safe for a homeless shelter and is proceeding further in completing a contract with Samaritan Village, the homeless services company who would be in charge of running the facility.

That determination was made by AECOM USA Inc, the independent company hired by the DHS to complete the study.

“We ask that you review the report and respond with any concerns on or before Friday, July 11. After this date, we will proceed with the next stage of contract negotiations for 125 families with children at this facility,” DHS Commissioner Gilbert Taylor wrote in the letter.

Attached to the letter is a 47-page report on the shelter by AECOM USA. DHS said the release of the report is “not customary” but they gave CB5 a copy of the report “as a courtesy before DHS advances the project to the Office of the Comptroller for contracting purposes.”

When asked for a reaction on the report, Kathy Masi, who heads the Glendale Civic Association, said the whole thing is littered with inaccuracies and refers to old information. The report itself often links to the agency’s City Environmental Quality Review Technical Manual, which is labeled “Out of date, do not use” when clicked on.

A DHS spokesperson, Chris Miller, said the report complies with the CEQR and the agency stands by the report and its findings. As for the project’s next steps, Miller said they will be advancing to the contracting stage. They do not have a timeline for that process, but they hope to move quickly, he said.

Both Vinny Arcuri, CB 5’s Chairman and Gary Giordano, the board’s District Manager, declined to comment on the report, saying they are still looking at the report itself and drafting a response to it.

Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, lgronda@queenstribune.com, or @luisgronda.