Ulrich Urges Stringer to Investigate Homeless Shelter Contracts

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Councilman Eric Ulrich is continuing his fight in opposition to the proposed homeless shelter at 226 Beach 101st  Street. In a letter penned to New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Ulrich is calling on Stringer to investigate how the Mayor's Office of Contact Services (MOCS) handles its homeless shelter contracts. Noting a complete lack of transparency and community input, the letter urges the Comptroller review City contracts for "integrity, accountability and fiscal compliance."

"Earlier this year, my office learned of the City's plans to open a shelter for homeless men at 226 Beach 101st Street in Rockaway," Councilman Eric Ulrich wrote. "We were not notified by any city agency, but by neighbors of the building who had spoken to construction workers at the site."

Ulrich argued the City's decision to house 120 homeless men at 226 Beach 101 Street is "entirely inappropriate," citing a lack of support services on the Rockaway Peninsula, as well as few occupational or residential opportunities in the area. The Councilman also expressed concerns about the location's close proximity to a number of schools.

"I was very upset that the proposed building—a former warehouse, located within four blocks of three public school buildings housing an elementary school, three separate middle schools, and two high schools as well as a charter school—would be used to shelter homeless individuals," the Councilman said.

"They will be trapped, literally in a warehouse, if these plans come to fruition," he added.

The Mayor's Office of Contract Services (MOCS) recently held their mandated hearing for the contract with the group, Black Veterans for Social Justice (BVSJ) to operate this facility. The Councilman expressed concerns that members of the Council and the general public are not allowed to see copies of these contracts unless they physically appear at MOCS to review them. Even then—only notes are permitted and no copies can be made. Additionally, elected officials and community residents are not notified of these hearings unless they happen to review the city record every day.

"Locals who did make it to MOCS for the hearing have informed me that the contract actually calls for a 'health and mental care facility,' and a 'treatment health care facility,' rather than a transitional shelter,'" the Councilman said.

Ulrich pointed out a review of the contract summary on the website for MOCS includes the information that BVSJ is going to be paid $40,780,555.00 over 57 months (9/1/19 through 6/30/24) to operate this shelter.

"That comes out to $5,859.27 per resident each month or $70,311.30 per resident per year. These costs are absurd on their face," he argued.

"I'm respectfully requesting that the Comptroller's office use its authority for 'reviewing City contracts for integrity, accountability and fiscal compliance,' to determine exactly what type of facility is planned for this location, what services will be provided, and why so much money is being spent, and to make that information and a copy of the contract publicly accessible to my office and my constituents," Ulrich added. "We intend to continue to fight the placement of this shelter as it is inappropriate for both the potential residents, as well as the neighborhood."

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