NEW YORK- In the vicinity of college point, within the Queens borough of New York City plans for the creation of a homeless shelter. These plans were originally conceived in a private transaction that was not disclosed to the public for many months. Two individuals purposely sold their apartments to an non for profit agency. In order to avoid counsel with the tenants and landowners of the community the deal was kept secret from the public for months. Currently, against the will of the neighborhood, the shelter is expected to open in September and has the perhaps unwise support of the NYC municipal government. Allegedly the seller of the property is a close associate to mayor Mark De Blasio.
While the individuals who decided to buy the properties for the sake of conversion into a shelter had good intentions in helping the unfortunate their methods were haphazard and considerate. Any quick glance at Rotary’s four principals reminds that a good-willed effort towards the community reminds humanitarians that their actions must consider all concerned. What the advocates for the homeless shelter forgot was a proper plan to coordinate their proposal with the neighborhood’s residents.
Whatever good intentions there are behind creating a homeless shelter for the homeless of the Queens Neighborhood this particular project from its inception until the present has not considered all concerned. Surely in order to succeed and do by right by the homeless in its care, the shelter should have a cooperative and friendly relationship with the local residents in the vicinity. Ideally, local residents would feel encouraged and excited to participate in donating or volunteering on behalf of those in need. Unfortunately, due to the manner, the shelter was forced on local residents, such amicable relationships cannot be expected at this time.
One of the biggest problems with the proposed shelter was the way it was planned does not prepare the neighborhood for a sudden influx of so many people at one time. Rehabilitation of the homeless is no easy task, and in creating a new shelter, the potential impacts on both the homeless and the nuances of the location must be considered. The hasty decision to establish a new shelter in a purely residential zone may not be. Simply allocating an area as a shelter without concern to the homeless men themselves does not help the homeless the proposed shelter would be attempting to help, nor anyone else for that matter.
The above being said, the homeless of Queens, and New York City certainly deserves help and a second chance at life. However, the regrettable instance of this case should be a learning experience for good Samaritans and city officials alike. In planning to allocate areas for homeless shelters. There should be a public discussion between community leaders, residents and non for profit agencies before any transaction was to take place. Why? Because a homeless shelter is simply not a private residence, in a negative way it was bold to establish the center in area otherwise zoned for residential establishments.
Alternatively, after contacting a neighborhood council or all of the town’s land owners, negotiations should take place to determine if a compromise could be reached for both sides. And to determine also, whether location would be the best area for shelter as a community decision. Trying to create a shortcut for such a long term endeavor is just that- a short cut. It is safe to say, therefore, that the movement behind the homeless shelter has failed. Yes, they have taken property for their own use -- but at the expense of the good will of those who will be directly impacted. Those in need of help the most who use the shelter could be blamed by local residents for a decision that was not of their making. In the long term one could say that the cause to help the homeless in the greater NYC area takes a loss in this case. How can communities in other areas of the city be expected to accept future shelters with the precedence that can be forced upon them by nongovernmental or municipal agencies alike?
In this issue one must also acknowledge the financial struggles that many New Yorkers (especially) tenants face on a day to day basis. Even while the Great Recession technically came to a recovery in 2013 that recovery did not reach all citizens equally. It is safe to say that thousands may had never recovered from their lost economic position, this is coupled by raising rents which place many residents between a rock and a hard place. These circumstances have contributed to the homeless of New York City.
But, the fiasco that has become College Point is not the way to provide relief for the unfortunate, it is not the way to right many of the wrongs incurred by residents of the city. Clique as it may be two wrongs never make a right. Answering the wrong of homeless suffering in the greatest city of the world cannot be answered by inappropriate development which disrupts the lives of people who have spent their entire lives or near their entire adult life building their livelihoods in the city
The solution here is to have a proper negotiation between all of the community leaders of College Point and the Municipal Government (that is if the city continues to support this project). While a real negotiation between the two sides could postpone the founding or result in the moving of the proposed shelter goodwill which has been lost could be retrieved. And its community good will which is vital to future charitable endeavors. Only positive feelings and efforts on all sides can the city confront its social problems to create the brightest future that is deserved by the hard working and innovative residents of the empire city.