Former City Council speaker Christine Quinn and the city have taken the next step to build Staten Island’s second homeless shelter over objections from locals in the area.
The property owner working with Quinn’s Women in Need (WIN) nonprofit filed plans to construct a nearly 115,000-square-foot, five-story-tall mixed-use project at 44 Victory Boulevard that will house about 200 families, according to an application pre-filed this week with the city’s Department of Buildings.
The new shelter, to be constructed on what’s now a vacant lot and part of a city-wide plan to combat homelessness, also will have 10,000 square feet of retail space plus childcare and program space for Win’s clients. The facility’s residents will be families, mostly single mothers with children, according to WIN.
The filings with the Buildings department appear to indicate the property owner is an entity called Freehold SL LP, with Roee Shua-Haim as a representative of the owner. Neither WIN nor the city’s Department of Homeless Services would comment on the identity of the property owner or project developer.
The project has triggered backlash from Staten Island’s North Shore community, which has said the city left the community out of discussions for the facility and should consider alternative sites. The Staten Island Downtown Alliance plans to sue the city to stop the shelter from opening and launched a website to help fundraise for the effort, according to SILive.com.
A spokesperson for DHS said the agency received no other “viable alternative proposals that bring a property owner and a not-for-profit service provider to the table,” and is moving forward with WIN’s proposal.
The project “[brings] us closer to our goal of being able to provide our neighbors from this community who fall on hard times with the dignified support they deserve right here in this community,” DHS said in a statement.
In a recent op-ed on SILive.com, Quinn said the development will replace an “eyesore” with a new building. The property’s retail stores “would only add to an economic resurgence,” and the project is expected to add 100 full and part-time jobs to the community.
Staten Island currently has one homeless shelter that can house 134 people, but there are 1,300 homeless Staten Islanders. “The plight of homeless moms and their children may not be obvious to everyone. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t there, don’t deserve to be seen and cared for, or that their crisis doesn’t need an immediate response,” Quinn added.