Residents protest plan to convert hotel into family shelter

They're known as the Concerned Jericho Parents and they're calling for transparency. Over a hundred local residents rallied outside of Oyster Bay Town Hall on Tuesday morning against Nassau County's plan to build a homeless shelter in the community. 

"There's not a single person in the community that's opposed to a homeless person having shelter," parent Marc Albert said. "That's not the issue here. The issue is it seems as though this plan was put into effect without even the slightest bit of thought."

A petition with more than 2,000 signatures was handed over to Oyster Bay's Supervisor to continue fighting against the project that would turn this former Hampton Inn into the new Jericho Family Support Center.

The town has taken legal action against the owner of the hotel citing a violation of zoning codes and safety issues. If approved the Center would house as many as 80 transitioning homeless families.

Community Housing Innovations, the nonprofit that would operate the shelter, said it will have 24/7 security with 100 cameras and no drugs or other contraband would be tolerated. Some of the families have expressed interest in sending their children to the school district.

Those in favor of the shelter are calling on the community to show more compassion. 

"It's going to save lives," Sivan Komatsu said. "It's going to save these families, give them a second chance, a chance to find permanent housing which they deserve just as much as the rest of us do."

Nassau County officials say the county is mandated by the state to provide shelter and services for eligible residents. 

A judge issued a restraining order and temporarily stopped construction. It was appealed by the developer and later then denied. The case is scheduled to be back in court on Aug. 24.

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