Friday, June 9, 2023

As pressure grows to house asylum seekers, New York City turns hotels into shelters


In New York: While other New York City hotels are being converted into emergency shelters, the historic Roosevelt Hotel in midtown Manhattan, which closed three years ago, will soon reopen to accommodate an anticipated influx of asylum seekers.

Chairman Eric Adams reported Saturday that the city will utilize the Roosevelt to ultimately give upwards of 1,000 spaces for travelers who are supposed to show up before long as a result of the lapse of pandemic-time rules, referred to all in all as Title 42, that had permitted government authorities to dismiss refuge searchers from the US line with Mexico.

Hotels like the Roosevelt, which used to be popular tourist destinations, are being converted into emergency shelters all over the city. Many of these shelters are in prime locations near Times Square, the World Trade Center memorial, and the Empire State Building. The city is required by law to provide shelter to anyone who requires it.

All things being equal, Adams says the city is running out of space for transients and has looked for monetary assistance from the state and national legislatures.

"New York City has now focused on in excess of 65,000 refuge searchers - previously opening up north of 140 crisis sanctuaries and eight huge scope compassionate help places notwithstanding this one to deal with this public emergency," the chairman said in an explanation reporting the Roosevelt choice.

New York Gov. Thomas Dewey used the storied hotel near Grand Central Terminal as his election headquarters in 1948. It was said that Dewey had made a false announcement from the Roosevelt that he had defeated Harry Truman for president.

As the city faces developing strain to grow its sanctuary framework, going to empty lodgings for those need a rooftop and a spot to bunk down as they figure out their lives. The Holiday Inn, which is in Manhattan's Financial District, is one of them. The 500-room, 50-story hotel's lobby windows displayed an announcement that it was closed a few months ago.

The hotel's owner's attorneys, Scott Markowitz of Tarter Krinsky & Drogin, stated that reopening as a shelter sponsored by the city made financial sense.

"They lease each room at the inn at a specific value consistently," Markowitz said, adding that it is bringing "significantly more income" than typical tasks would have gotten.

When shelters and other options are unavailable, the city often turns to hotels for homeless New Yorkers.

The city rented out hundreds of hotel rooms as quasi-COVID wards because group shelters made it difficult to comply with social distancing rules during the pandemic. The city relied less on hotels as the pandemic eased.

That changed last year when thousands of migrants started arriving by bus.

Migrant families are currently staying in the Watson Hotel on West 57th Street, which was once praised for its rooftop pool and proximity to Central Park.

"It is our moral and legitimate commitment to give haven to any individual who needs it," the city's Division of Social Administrations said in an explanation. " In that capacity, we have used, and will keep on using, each apparatus available to us to address the issues of each and every family and person who comes to us looking for cover."

The city was dealing with an increase in homelessness, overcrowding in shelters, and a lack of affordable housing prior to the influx of asylum seekers. Infuriating local leaders, New York even announced a plan to relocate hundreds of migrants to hotels across the Hudson River in Orange and Rockland counties.

The Hotel Association of New York City's president and CEO, Vijay Dandapani, stated that the city must devise long-term solutions.

He added, "Hotels are not the solution for these situations," and that the optics caused taxpayers to worry that migrants were living in opulence at their expense.

However, advocates for the homeless contend that hotel rooms' private quarters are superior to city-provided barracks-style accommodations.

One of the city's homeless, 55-year-old Kassi Keith, was pleased with the hotel arrangement.

Keith stated, "Having your own room, what it gives you, is peace of mind." You don't have to keep one eye open; I can go to sleep with both eyes closed.

After being evicted from hotel rooms and forced into barracks set up at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, which has poor access to public transportation, dozens of migrants staged a protest earlier this year. They lamented the cold, lack of privacy, and insufficient bathroom space.

According to officials, the Roosevelt Hotel's inaugural function will be as a welcome center that will provide resources and information on legal and medical matters. Additionally, 175 rooms will be made available to families with children, and the number of rooms will rise to 850. According to the city, additional asylum seekers will have access to 150 additional rooms.

David Giffen, executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless, stated, "When you offer people something like a hotel room, you're much more likely to get a positive response to it." He further stated that the rooms provide "privacy and dignity."

Yet, Giffen said lodgings won't resolve the more prominent issue of an absence of reasonable, super durable lodging.

He stated, "The reason for all of this is that we have such a failing housing system that people with lower incomes end up using the shelter system as the de facto housing system." The hotels are being used as a de facto shelter because the shelter system does not have enough beds."

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