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Hampton Bays motel will no longer serve as homeless shelter

David M. Schwartz

A Hampton Bays motel will no longer be used as a homeless shelter, with 20 families living there moved to longer-term housing by Sept. 30, Suffolk County and Southampton Town officials announced Tuesday.

Hidden Cove Motel has been operated as a shelter since October 2011 by a White Plains nonprofit, Community Housing Innovations. Up to 28 families have been living at the motel complex at any time since then, officials said.

Legis. Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk) said in a statement, “Few, if any, of the families who have stayed in the Hidden Cove Shelter are from Southampton Town or anywhere on the East End.”

John O’Neill, acting commissioner of the Department of Social Services, sent a letter Monday giving a 90-day notice to the nonprofit.

Alec Roberts, executive director of Community Housing Innovations, said 340 homeless families have stayed at Hidden Cove over the past two years. “With very few exceptions, the community has opened its heart to the families in need,” he said in an emailed statement. He said Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Schneiderman have indicated they will help “develop workforce apartments that will support local business and ease the cost burden of many renters living in substandard and overcrowded housing in Southampton.”

Schneiderman said the county’s new policy to try to place homeless children in shelters near their “home school districts” and the opening of two large homeless shelters in Western Suffolk made it “appropriate to re-evaluate whether a facility located in an area [where] homelessness has a very low incidence, is still needed.”

Throne-Holst praised county officials for working with the town, which has sought to close the shelter. “This is a very welcome change from the previous administration that kept us entirely removed from this process,” Throne-Holst said in a statement.