Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Steven Banks was drowned out by hundreds of angry Queens residents on Thursday night, as he attempted to make a case for a new homeless shelter for adult families in place of the Holiday Inn Express at 59-40 55th Road in Maspeth.

Video from the event captures part of Banks's remarks: "...yelling at me in the front row saying, 'They [the proposed shelter residents] should go back to East New York,' I just want to emphasize again that there are 243 of your neighbors in shelter." He was then drowned out by boos.

Maspeth residents are vehemently opposed to the new 110-bed shelter, which they say will impact their quality of life by bringing homeless people into their community. The Department of Homeless Services has countered that there are 243 homeless New Yorkers whose last listed address was in Maspeth, evidence of a need for shelter services there.

"Nobody here is fooled," said one angry local on Thursday. "You bus people into Maspeth from god knows where, give them a zip code here, and then say Maspeth has a problem."

Community Board 5 Chair Vincent Arcuri told Gothamist Friday that his community, a mix of working class "old-time multi-generational people" and recent immigrants, is rallying against what they deem an intrusion of outsiders. He cited the opening of a family shelter in the former Pan American Hotel in nearby Elmhurst, which locals vehemently protested last year, as proof of point. "It's a dangerous situation when you have unknown-background people congregating in one place," he said.

"We have 190,000 people in CB5. No one knows anyone that's in a shelter," he added. "They know people in dire need, they know people getting help from churches, but they don't know anyone in a shelter."

Thursday's charged meeting overflowed the stuffy Maspeth auditorium, with dozens of locals congregating outside and even marching over to the Holiday Inn in protest, some shouting "Maspeth lives matter!" Many described homeless people as dangerous and degenerate.

"We have a homeless guy who lives a few blocks away. I've been trying to get him help for over a year now. He exposes himself to the girls in the laundromat," said CB5 member Jerry Drake at the podium, adding, "This shelter is opening over my dead body."

"The [city] may not know or disclose what other felons, drug addicts, and mental cases are in these shelters," said another resident, who later called for "sporadic, unannounced protests" against the shelter. An online petition opposing the shelter has 386 signatures as of this writing.

Jose Rodriguez, 53, is a member of the advocacy group Picture The Homeless and currently lives in a city shelter. He lived in Ridgewood, Queens before entering the system, and worked as a substance abuse counselor before health issues compelled him to stop working. He said he found some of the comments from Maspeth residents "unfair."

"Most of the people in the shelter I'm in, they get up every day and go to work," he said. "Because they are homeless doesn't mean they never contributed for the sake of the city."

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley also voiced her opposition to the shelter on Thursday. "Here in Maspeth we have a strong, hard-working, middle class community," she said. "We support each other... and the mayor is trying to solve the city's homelessness problem on our backs. On the backs of Maspeth's residents."

"The administration is already well aware that there are three shelters literally within walking distance of this site, greatly impacting Maspeth," she added. At one point during her remarks, Crowley was interrupted with chants of "Build it in Park Slope!"

The city countered that within the confines of Community Board 5, there are currently no homeless shelters. The nearest shelter is 1.4 miles from the Holiday Inn.

Locals have also accused the city of presenting the new shelter proposal, which could be implemented in October, without enough notice (the proposal was confirmed at a community board meeting on August 3rd). In the case of the Pan American shelter, locals were informed the night before the move in—what the city deemed an emergency decision. In the case of the Holiday Inn Express, the city says it's given at least 60 days notice.

"New York City is legally obligated to provide shelter to any New Yorker who would otherwise be turned out onto the streets," said DHS spokesman David Neustadt on Friday. "We have met with community leaders and participated in an open community forum to continue to build a constructive dialogue around this issue."

Mayoral spokeswoman Aja Worthy-Davis stressed Friday that the shelter location has not been finalized, and that the city will review alternative Maspeth locations proposed by the community. Last fall, following the triple stabbing murder of a mother and two of her three small children in a Staten Island motel serving homeless families, Mayor de Blasio pledged to phase out the practice of renting out hotel rooms as temporary shelter for the homeless "as quickly as possible." There were 41 NYC hotels housing homeless New Yorkers as of May.

The city says that creating a new shelter in place of a hotel—rather than renting out some of the rooms on a short-term basis, helps meet this goal. "This administration has committed to housing homeless New Yorkers and diminishing reliance on hotels and cluster spaces," Worthy-Davis said.

The average homeless New Yorker costs the city, state and federal government $58,000 per year, according to the Supportive Housing Network of New York. Advocates have long argued that the city should channel the money it is spending on the shelter system—which currently serves more than 60,000 New Yorkers—into permanent housing.

[UPDATE 8/13:] This piece has been amended to include only the portion of Commissioner Banks's statements regarding East New York that were captured in video embedded in this post.