Homeless New Yorkers are finding shelter in more than 100 New York City Hotels-and every American is helping foot the bill, not just New Yorkers, Fox News reported Tuesday.
Nearly $80 million was set aside to help homeless New Yorkers find shelter in top of the line hotels back in April. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) through taxpayer money, signed a contract agreeing to cover 75% of the cost of the rooms, according to Fox News. New York taxpayers would pick up the slack and foot the bill for other expenses like moving, staff, medical care and extra services. (RELATED: ‘We’re The Taxpayers’: At Least 139 Hotels Are Operating As Homeless Shelters In NYC Without Notifying Neighbors)
At least $140,000 has been raised by private donors including “Homeless Can’t Stay Home”.
In 2018, Politico reported the city planned to spend $364 million each year to house homeless people in hotels by using long term contracts to cut costs. This followed a 2017 report from the Comptroller’s office showing the cost of hotel room shelters soared by 33% within four months, which Comptroller Scott M. Stringer criticized.
“Homeless New Yorkers don’t belong in hotels-this is a practice that has to end. Hotel Rooms are not only a Band-aid solution to a complex problem, but they’re also very expensive. If families are going to get back on their feet, we need to help get them the services they need. The rising costs are extraordinary,” Stringer said in 2017.
Costs spiked again this year as the city was forced to switch from double-occupancy hotel rooms to single-occupancy hotel rooms due to social distancing guidelines. Prior to COVID-19, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) was paying upwards of $17 million per month to rent “approximately 3,500 beds in double-occupancy hotel rooms for single adults” but that number increased to $28 million per month due to social distancing guidelines, according to Erin Drinkwater, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Social Services.
City Hall did not pinpoint which hotels are being used for housing homeless New Yorkers, but Spectrum News New York 1 reports at least 30 hotels in Manhattan alone are being used to house homeless New Yorkers, with 20% of all city hotels acting as shelters.
“So within two months, they brought over 600 people into this neighborhood without an impact study, without anybody’s input.”
The contract to use hotels as shelters extends through October with no move-out date set, per Spectrum News New York 1.