The Real Deal New York

It costs $5K a month to put a homeless person up at a hotel

City booking more than 1,100 rooms a day citywide

December 10, 2015 08:39AM

Steve Levin Verve Hotel

Council Member Steve Levin and the Verve Hotel at 40-03 29th Street in Long Island City

The city government is increasingly turning to hotels to house the city’s homeless, at a steep price.

On average, the cost of renting hotel rooms for homeless people comes to just under $5,000 a month per room, according to city officials.

The de Blasio administration is renting about 1,100 hotel rooms a night, and using them as emergency shelters for the city’s persistently-high homeless population, the New York Post reported.

“Right now we’re using the rooms at the capacity that we have because we need it in order to accommodate the demand,” Homeless Services Commissioner Gilbert Taylor told the Post.

Officials wouldn’t give the exact number of homeless distributed among the 45 hotels, including the Verve at 40-03 29th Street in Long Island City, it’s using as shelters.

The de Blasio administration has fought an uphill battle against homelessness in recent months, and has been pilloried for understating the severity of the crisis. Brokers have recently complained that the increase in the city’s homeless population is making it more difficult to sell some properties.

Officials have pushed the controversial “cluster-site” program, which houses about 3,000 families in privately-owned buildings around the city. But the city prefers to use hotels because occupying space in rental buildings removes affordable apartments from the market, Taylor told the Post.

Still, Council General Welfare Committee chairperson Steve Levin highlighted the high cost of the policy.

“It raises a question, and there’s no good option here, but $4,000 or more a month on a hotel room is obviously very expensive,” he told the Post. [NYP]Ariel Stulberg