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Queens Community Protests Proposed Homeless Shelter

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Outrage was heard loud and clear Friday night over a proposed homeless shelter that could open as soon as this spring in Rockaway Park, Queens.

Neighbors were heated, and pointing the finger squarely at Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Despite the anger felt at the rally, the hundreds in attendance were already mourning what they fear will be lost if the city follows through on their plans to house 120 homeless men in their community.

"I think safety is the number one fear," resident Torey Schnupp said.

The protest included parents like Schnupp and Alison Kase, both concerned about quality of life for their kids.

"Influence of alcohol and drugs, and I am not saying that's true of everyone homeless," Kase said. "I am very nervous for my children."

The site of the proposed shelter is an old brick warehouse at the corner of Beach 101st Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, a roughly two and a half minute walk to where roughly 5,000 kids go to school.

The shelter would be part of the mayor's 'Turning the Tide' plan to address homelessness. The city says it would be the first traditional shelter serving single men in that particular community district. Ask anyone in attendance Friday and they'd tell you, the area has done its part to help and house those who are vulnerable.

"This will be our third homeless shelter," Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-23) said.

"The Rockaways continue to shoulder a disproportionate amount of homeless and at-risk individuals on a very tiny peninsula," Kase said.

"We are not protesting homeless people tonight," City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-32) said. "We are protesting failed and hopeless policies."

Ulrich says the shelters are not solutions.

"The mayor has failed to build affordable housing, that's why we're in this predicament," he said. "If the city gave us enough time we would work with them and help find an appropriate location."

The next step, they said, is to take the fight to the steps of City Hall to make sure the administration hears them loud and clear.

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