B 116 Street Halfway House May Not Return
According to local sources, repre-sentatives from Narco Freedom, the operators of the controversial halfway houses, who also lead outpatient drug and alcohol substance abuse programs, have announced that they have no plans on returning to the 154 Beach 114 Street property after the building was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. Rather, the residents were only allowed back in recent days to collect any last belongings as they are relocated to an unspecified resi-dence outside of Rockaway. The halfway house located at 158 Beach 116 Street (Rockaway Park Hotel) however, was severely dam-aged by six feet of flood waters and has been evacuated. To date, all halfway house residents are off the peninsula, but sources say the plans for the Rockaway Park Hotel are still undetermined. It is possible that the Rockaway Park Hotel halfway house may also never reopen again.
The properties have been a lightening rod of controversy and disapproval ever since they opened in 2010 by owner Jay Deutchman who would later lease the property and its day-to-day operations to Narco Freedom.
The community board, local com-munity activists, business owners and politicians tried everything in their power to prevent the halfway house residents from harassing merchants, shoppers and local residents along Beach 116 Street. Most of the times it was aggressive panhandling that the residents complained about as well as the loitering in front of businesses.
Those locals found that nothing seemed to work, and the store owners on the street began to complain that the halfway house residents were chasing valuable customers away from the street.
As a result, Deutchman, met with Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder and 100 Precinct Community Council President Danny Ruscillo over the summer months and agreed to pro-vide a security detail and round-the clock counselors at their Rockaway properties. This lightened the prob-lem with the addition of a Beach 116 Street patrol officer until the storm forced their evacuations.