New York Post: Head of the NYC Hotel Association says operators ready to house thousands of migrants

New York Post: Head of the NYC Hotel Association says operators ready to house thousands of migrants


August 18, 2022 7:08 PM


There’s room at the inn in New York City.


The head of the NYC Hotel Association said Thursday that operators are ready to put up thousands of migrants flocking to New York City in a boost to Mayor Eric Adams in his war of words with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.


Vijay Dandapani, president of the group representing nearly 300 hotels, likened the migrant crisis to the COVID-19 pandemic, when hotels sheltered the homeless, front-line medical workers and recovering coronavirus patients who needed to quarantine.


Vijay Dandapani, President and CEO at Hotel Association of New York City is willing to open his hotel doors for migrants.

“DHS [Department of Homeless Services] has reached out to many potential suppliers for a bid to supply hotel rooms.  At this point, HANYC stands ready to help through the hotel community, as it has in the past during COVID when many in shelters were moved to hotels,” Dandapani told The Post.


The Hotel Trades Council, which represents 37,000 hotel workers, is also involved in discussions with hotel operators and City Hall.


“HTC’s membership is largely made up of immigrant families who share a common history with the migrant families being bussed to New York,” said union President Rich Maroko. “As ambassadors of the hospitality industry, we are proud to welcome them with open arms and continue to work with the city to help provide safe shelter to help ensure their difficult journey has a happy ending.”


Maroko has accompanied Adams to greet busloads of migrants that have arrived at the Port Authority Bus Terminal throughout this month. The HTC was the first major union to endorse Adams’s successful bid for the mayoralty last year.


According to the union, there are currently 125,000 hotel rooms across the city, with a current occupancy rate of about 80%.


That means as many 25,000 unused hotel rooms are available to help shelter the influx of border crossers.


But that doesn’t tell the whole story.


The COVID-19 outbreak decimated the hospitality industry — driving 90 hotels out of business and eliminating 19,000 rooms, a huge chunk of inventory.


The Post on Wednesday reported that the homeless services agency issued an emergency request for another 5,000 rooms to house migrants being bused to the city from Texas and Arizona.


The emergency request said DHS was leaning heavily on “commercial  hotels or other similar facilities” to offer units for families with children, as well as childless couples and individuals.


City Hall estimates that more than 4,000 migrants, many of whom are seeking asylum, have already arrived in the five boroughs in recent weeks — triggering a high-profile feud between Adams and Abbott, who is running for re-election this fall.


The price tag for the housing is unclear but will likely to run into the tens of millions of dollars — at least. Hotel room rates are higher than they were during the peak of the pandemic, when tourism was non-existent and virtually all rooms were available, an industry insider said.


In October 2020, The Post reported that the city was spending more than $300 million to house homeless families in hotels instead of barrack-like shelters.