Show Some Compassion

Many in the City are still recovering from the recent financial crisis, leaving countless men and women without jobs and without a means to provide for their families. Understandably, in such situations, times become too tough and those hit hardest are sometimes left without a roof over their heads.

Such is life for many of the families now residing at the Pan American Hotel in Elmhurst.

The Dept. of Homeless Services may have handled the decision to house homeless individuals at the hotel improperly, but the actions of the protesters earlier this week were shocking, and showed a callous lack of compassion.
With unemployment still high and the job market still recovering, many of these families need that shelter in order to help create a better life, not just for themselves, but for their children. Without a roof over their heads, it is almost impossible to find even the most basic employment. Without a roof over their heads, education suffers. Without a roof over their heads, these children are just as likely to be left in the same situation when they become adults.

Is it not better for these homeless families to be housed in what was an empty hotel building, where they have an opportunity to sleep somewhere other than a park bench, a subway car or on the street? Would we rather these children have no roof over their heads, no bed to sleep in or no room where they can do homework?

These families deserve better than to have a mob of people yelling at them to leave or to find a job. They likely already feel like second-class citizens. There was no reason for protesters to take their frustrations with the Dept. of Homeless Services out on the individuals seeking shelter at the empty hotel. The actions of those protesters were abhorrent, and those families who are now housed at the Pan American deserve no less than an apology, not just from that mob, but from the local officials who allowed it to happen.

2 thoughts on “Show Some Compassion

  1. Angry Queens Resident

    “A callous lack of compassion?” How about how the city has handled the homeless problem for years, by dumping shelters into the already overburdened, overcrowded neighborhoods of Queens? How many of the Queens Tribune Editorial team live within walking distance of a homeless shelter, or would consider buying a house within that distance?

    Many of these families are no worse off than a lot of the people out there on the picketing line who barely make enough to scrape by, and have to make due with tight living quarters. Many of them barely even speak English whereas these homeless counter-protestors who were in this country for much longer out there picketing instead of looking for a job.

    Why doesn’t the Tribune put the pressure on the deBlasio administration, where the buck should stop?

  2. Max Guevarra

    The encounter mentioned in your Opinion would not have occurred if the Good Semaritan ‘counselors’ for the homeless housed at the Pan Am Hotel not brought a group of women and children to confront the protesters who were mostly Maspeth Asian property owners.
    What is not in doubt is that there was no process to ease the designation of the Pan Am Hotel as a homeless shelter and the subsequent placement of the families; in essence it whole deal was a fait accompli. To put it bluntly, the lack of consultation with the community was racist. The assumption was that this area has a high Asian population and that the wouldn’t protest. They would just eat it. In fact there was a lot of sympathy for the homeless given the Asian experience in America.
    Asian-Americans work hard for what they have. Everybody works one, two, three jobs. They take pride in their schools and take every opportunity to make them better. However, this area has one of the highest overcrowding rates in the city and 250+ families will seriously impact the schools in the area. In addition there are already three Social Services units in the area that have little or no support from the city.
    Could this have happened on the Upper East/West Side, in LIC, in Whitestone, in Bay Ridge? I seriously doubt it.
    Mayor deBlasio thank you for waking a sleeping giant.

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