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Nov 1, 2011 1:38 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Residents Face Eviction From Former Hampton Bays Motel

Nov 2, 2011 12:55 PM

Tiffany Herman, a disabled young woman now living in a rental unit at the Hidden Cove Motel in Hampton Bays, could soon find herself homeless—with nowhere to go and no resources.

Ms. Herman, 19, is one of approximately 20 tenants now residing at the former motel, located on West Tiana Road, which has been occupied primarily by monthly and weekly tenants in recent years. About a dozen of the units are currently occupied by homeless individuals who were placed there by Suffolk County’s Department of Social Services.

But Ms. Herman said she and other renters received a letter last month from the operators of the former motel stating that they would be losing their homes because the Department of Social Services, in conjunction with provider Community Housing Innovations Inc.—an organization with offices on Long Island and in Westchester County—plan to open a full-scale homeless shelter at the site starting possibly as early as December.

A letter dated October 18, and hand-delivered to residents, states: “The Hidden Cove Motel shall be ceasing its current operations as of November 30, 2011. We request all units be vacated by that date.”

The news has residents fearful about their future.

“I’m so filled with anxiety, I don’t know what to do,” Ms. Herman said. “I’m already classified with depression—this makes it worse.”

Looking around the small unit where she keeps all of her worldly belongings, Ms. Herman said she is most worried about what will happen to her cat if she is forced to vacate. Other residents, many of whom are elderly or ill, according to Ms. Herman, are in similar predicaments.

An employee at the Hidden Cove Motel’s management office declined to comment about the eviction notices, or the county’s plan to offer the units to homeless individuals.

Laml Realty Corporation, the owner of the motel property, according to Southampton Town records, also did not respond to requests seeking comment. The property has been listed with local real estate agents for a number of years.

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst confirmed this week that plans for a full-scale homeless shelter are now in the works at the site, adding that town officials are not happy about the county’s decision to leave them out of the decision-making process.

“The town is currently investigating both zoning restrictions, as well as town and county provisions and authority to establish a shelter in the area,” Ms. Throne-Holst said, noting that the facility would be sited in what is primarily a residential neighborhood.

“We are further inquiring as to where, if anywhere, the county is establishing similar facilities, as the responsibility can yet again not be borne by only one municipality and school district,” she continued, referring to Suffolk County’s decision several years ago to house all of its homeless sex offenders in two trailers in Southampton Town.

The supervisor said the town has asked for a joint meeting with the property owners and the Hampton Bays School District to vet the county plan.

Gregory Blass, the commissioner of Suffolk’s Department of Social Services, said this week that he cannot confirm if the Hidden Cove Motel property would soon be transformed into a homeless shelter. “I am precluded from confirming or denying a homeless location for services at any location because of restrictions of confidentiality imposed by state social services law,” he said.

Mr. Blass did note that the motel previously served as a homeless shelter for the county from 1999 until 2002, when it operated under the name “Luv ‘Em.” He added that motels are typically utilized only when the county’s homeless populations are exploding. He noted that demand continues to increase, adding that, as of earlier this week, there are 500 homeless families in Suffolk County.

“We broke the 500 mark this week,” Mr. Blass said. “It’s a serious situation.”

Though he could not offer exact details, he explained that all of the homeless who are provided with housing by the county must follow basic rules. The tenants must obey curfews, the county provides 24-hour supervision, and there is zero tolerance for drugs or alcohol. “Any violations result in discharge,’ Mr. Blass said.

He explained that county workers are always working to find permanent housing for the homeless, a hard task in difficult economic times. Still, he estimated that between 30 and 40 families a month are moved into permanent housing once they are self-sustainable. Mr. Blass also noted that, in most cases, the children of the homeless are bused to their original school districts unless a parent requests that they attend the district in which they are currently living.

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Is the current County Deputy Social Services Commissioner Ed Hernandez the same Ed Hernandez who worked for Community Housing Innovations as its Long Island Director a few years back?
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on Nov 3, 11 2:34 PM
Why don't the citizens of Hampton Bays have a vote on these decisions. I am sick of being the dumping ground for the Homeless, as well as Welfare
recipients. It is bad enough to watch out town slowly becoming a slum due to the decisions of Suffolk County and Southampton Town by ignoring our zoning, rentals etc.
By Bridget325 (27), Hampton Bays on Nov 3, 11 8:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By JacklynFranco, Columbus, Ohio on Jan 24, 13 9:33 PM