City could house homeless in hotels for another nine years

Department of Homeless Services issues new request for vendors
January 02, 2017 04:00PM

Verve Hotel

The Verve Hotel in Long Island City is one of the hotels that has been housing homeless New Yorkers

The city could house homeless people in hotels for another nine years according to a new proposal by the Department of Homeless Services.

Last month, the department issued a request for firms to provide “emergency shelter social services in commercial hotels.” Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he wants to stop housing homeless people in hotels “as quickly as possible,” but faced with a record homeless population there don’t appear to be enough viable alternatives.

“The goal is to use hotels less and less and eventually stop using hotels altogether,” he said in February, after a homeless woman and her two children were murdered in a Staten Island motel.

The department’s request for bids claims it anticipates contracts with vendors to last between three and nine years.

“We are committed to phasing out the use of hotels. Right now, they’re necessary alternatives to shelter space we don’t have,” a de Blasio spokesperson told the New York Post. “These contracts are standard in length, can be canceled, and will allow us to save money and avoid price spikes.”

A December report by Comptroller Scott Stringer found that the city had spent $72.9 million for 425,000 hotel room bookings since November 2015. [NYP] — Konrad Putzier