JERICHO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Turning hotels into shelters in New York has been met with some controversy and resistance, but it’s not a Manhattan-only phenomenon.
The idea extends out to Long Island, where some of the same problems are arising.
Jericho residents were out in the Saturday sun to make drivers on Cedar Swamp Road by Jericho High School aware of a shelter project they say was approved in secret, in violation of zoning code.
“We need to be heard and we need the transparency,” Jericho resident Xin Fan Chang said.
It turns an old Hampton Inn into the new Jericho Family Support Center, which will be run by a nonprofit called Community Housing Innovations in conjunction with the county commissioner of social services.
“Bring everybody that’s homeless from all over Nassau and make it Jericho’s problem, especially when it’s done under the radar with no announcement,” one man told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.
A spokesperson for Nassau County says the shelter is needed “in order to provide these important services for our neighbors in need, especially during these difficult times.”
But the town of Oyster Bay, which Jericho is a part of, issued a stop work order against the developer and took additional legal action.
Marc Albert is a member of the Concerned Jericho Parents Committee.
“The judge signed that temporary restraining order yesterday,” Albert said.
He’s demanding to know more about the hotel shelter’s capacity. It’s estimated there could be about 80 families in the shelter with no single people.
“Everybody would certainly welcome homeless families having shelter, but the way this was done on the sly, so to speak, without the community even knowing,” Albert said.
Organizers say they chose to gather near the high school Saturday because they worry their children’s education and health may be at stake.
“All these kids that are going to be on top of each other in a hotel are then going to come into the district and into our schools and we are worried,” Albert said.
Jericho resident Rohit Choudrhy says he is not worried. He says the shelter could be a good thing.
“If you go and get all the facts, there are only a few kids, 10, 12 kids, that are going to come in the school,” he said.
“You’re concerned it’s an overreaction?” Carlin asked.
“It definitely is, yes,” Choudrhy said.
The community learns more about the project and its future at a court hearing set for Aug. 24.