Locals frustrated by homeless living in tents in Queens

At least five homeless people have turned a stretch of Whitney Avenue in Elmhurst, Queens into an urban camping ground.

The encampment has persisted for two years — with the city taking no action, despite 41 complaints made through 311 since Jan. 1, 2020.

“Everybody complains. It’s too dirty. Sometimes Sanitation comes, sometimes they don’t. If they don’t come, it’s a mess,” Steven Li, 45, manager of nearby Getting Well Rx Pharmacy Inc., said.

Littered along the sidewalk, gutter, and street are bags of trash, clothes, office chairs, a shopping cart and milk crates.

The encampment popped up around the start of the pandemic, Li said. “We call [the police] so many times. The cops don’t come. They told us, ‘What can we do?’”

Li’s shop borders the avenue — and he said his landlord had to lock up a connecting stairwell after the homeless used it “as a bathroom,” making deliveries difficult and inconveniencing customers.

Pharmacy manager Steven Li is disappointed by the lack of police responses on the homeless people.
Helayne Seidman

The city Department of Homeless Services didn’t return a request for comment.

On a recent Thursday morning, a city homeless outreach worker checked on the tent occupants, without taking any apparent action.

One of the homeless men, Elvis Martinez, 45, confirmed to The Post they’d been living there for two years without being made to break camp.

Tent occupant Elvis Martinez claims he’s been living on Whitney Avenue in Queens for two years because of its safety.
Helayne Seidman
Whitney Avenue is now littered with trash, clothes and office chairs from the homeless encampments.
Whitney Avenue is now littered with trash, clothes and office chairs from the homeless encampments.
Helayne Seidman

“It’s safe. We’re doing alright,” he said, as he sat in his tent with a few friends and his companion Sandra, with whom he shares two small dogs.

Martinez said city workers have repeatedly pressed them to enter a shelter — which he claimed he wants to do, once the two pooches get all their required shots.

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