Some Hampton Bays Civic Association members are scrambling to stop the new shelter for homeless families at the on West Tiana Road.
But, they may already be too late. The deal between a Yonkers-based shelter management company, Community Housing Innovations, a sub-contractor for Suffolk County, and the motel owner was signed six weeks ago, said Greg Blass, the county’s Commissioner of Social Services.
“We have the Hidden Cove Motel, and it’s now a motel with services including 24/7-security for a limited number of families,” Blass said. “Whether or not a larger number will be placed depends on the in Suffolk County.”
Eve Houlihan, a member of the Hampton Bays Citizens Advisory Committee, said at a monday night civic association meeting that she is trying to get together a meeting of town officials and shelter management.
“I’m appalled,” Houlihan said. “There’s already a preponderance of affordable housing and Section 8.”
Blass could not say how many families are currently at the motel, or are allowed to stay there. The county pays the motel owner $80 per night per room, he said.
Mostly women and children from across Suffolk County stay at the motel for between two to four months, and have the option of attending the , Blass said. The county generally transitions between 35 and 40 shelter residents per month to permanent housing, he said.
A few meeting attendees were worried about the impact the . Superintendent Lars Clemensen said that he has already received several new students from Hidden Cove Motel. The state helps defer the cost of education, he said.
In response to the community outcry, Blass quoted Saint Francis: “Of those to whom much is given, much is expected.”
“What is the fair way to house the homeless?” Blass said. “We found no more fair a way than the way we’re doing it.”
Some Hampton Bays civic members questioned the suitability of the motel as a shelter, stating the septic system may be dated, and the rooms could be in disrepair.
But, the county is repairing some of the rooms, and the facility – used as a shelter about 10 years ago – passed state inspection, Blass said.
“It’s a crude diversion that some of the public would complain that the homeless are placed in a waterfront hotel, as if they are unworthy,” he said, adding that the property owner was willing to accept the county’s deal.