Instead of solidifying real housing for NYC’s homeless, New York City officials shelled out over half a million in taxpayer’s dollars to temporarily send the displaced to hotels around the city for one night only last year. Per the NY Post, when temperatures were at an all-time low on December 30, at least one block of 10 rooms at $549 each were booked, helping reach the staggering figure at $648,000.
The Band-Aid solution, not only temporarily fixes the issue, but is has proven to be a poor use of taxpayer’s funds. NYC Comptroller reports that the average daily cost for commercial hotel bookings for the NYC’s homeless shot up 600% over the last 16 months, from $82,214 in Nov. 2015 to $576,203 per day in Feb. 2017.
A representative from the fiscal organization, Scott Stringer, adds:
“Hotel rooms are not only a Band-Aid solution to a complex problem, but they’re also very expensive. Homeless New Yorkers don’t belong in hotels. This is a practice that has to end.”
But NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and his team quickly retorted, acknowledging the shortcomings of the idea and vowing to brainstorm other ideas for the future. A de Blasio spokeswoman Jaclyn Rothenberg told The Post:
“The comptroller is behind the curve. We announced as part of our plan that we will be ending the use of hotels by opening a smaller number of better shelters across the five boroughs. We recently put into place a plan to further reduce costs and improve services,”
Stringer, who previously considered running for mayor this year, has since changed his mind, but is arguing that the city should instead invest in the transformation of over 1,1000 city-owned vacant lots into 50,000 units of affordable housing.