New York Post: NYC inks $77M emergency hotels contract to shelter migrant families

New York Post: NYC inks $77M emergency hotels contract to shelter migrant families


January 23, 2024, 4:00 PM

Mayor Eric Adams’ administration has inked a new emergency $76.69 million contract with the Hotel Association of New York City to provide “last resort” shelter to migrant families

Fifteen hotels in Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx will make blocks of rooms available to asylum-seeking families for up to 28 days under the “vouchering program” running through July.

“We’re not going to allow a child or family to sleep on the street,” Adams said during a press briefing Tuesday.

The migrant crisis has been a boon to the hotel industry still emerging from loss of business during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Post reported in September that the city extended contracts with the hotel association for three years at a staggering price tag of $1.3 billion — nearly five times the original $275 million deal — just to pay rental fees to more than 100 hotels that were converted into emergency shelters.

There are currently 493 households receiving shelter under the program administered by the city Department of Housing and Preservation Development (HPD).

“The City has made managing the costs of the asylum seeker crisis a priority, so we worked with them to ensure the costs and commitments of housing newcomers in our hotels were as low as possible,” said Vijay Dandapani, president and CEO of the Hotel Association of New York City (HANYC).

“We’re proud of the work we’ve done as an industry to aid the City in its mission to care for asylum seekers who arrive in New York. We are corporate citizens and New Yorkers ourselves, and our businesses rely on immigrants every day,” added Dandapani.

According to HPD, the new contract formalizes ongoing work between HPD and HANYC since July 2023 and funds the program through July 2024

The city has provided more 3,000 hotel rooms to migrant households through this program

Migrant families are directed to the hotel voucher program as a “last resort” if there isn’t any space at other shelters, HPD said.

At the end of the 28 days, families are able to return to arrival centers — Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers — to receive another placement, HPD said.

“New York City has led the nation in responding to this national humanitarian crisis, providing compassion, care, shelter, and vital services to more than 170,700 migrants who have come through our care since spring 2022. Thanks to around-the clock work of city workers, we’ve ensured every single family with children has a bed to sleep in and a roof over their heads, while working to reduce costs and help people move out of shelter and stabilize their lives. This contract allows the city to negotiate competitive rates as we continue responding to this unprecedented crisis,” said HPD spokesman William Fowler.

“The Hotel Vouchering Program helps the city negotiate a competitive rate to provide 28-day hotel stays to migrant families with children as a last resort when there is no other viable option. While it’s not our preferred solution, nor a permanent one, it is a key part of our daily struggle to help people at the scale at which they arrive,” said Fowler.

The program is separate from the typical longer-term agreement for use of entire hotels — that were completely converted into emergency shelters and not open to other customers.

The city has opened more than 210 emergency shelter sites to more than 170,700 migrants during the border crisis now entering its third year, according to officials.

The unrelenting influx of migrants coming into the Big Apple from the US-Mexico border has the Adams administration scouring any available space to shelter them.

It created encampments at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens, Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, Randall’s Island and conversion of a building at JFK airport into a shelter.

Adams has urged President Biden to address the border-migrant crisis — a federal responsibility — and provide more aid to New York City to cover services to the wave of asylum seekers.

The White House has largely shunned his requests.

Gov. Kathy Hochul last week dedicated $2.4 billion in state funding to tackle the migrant crisis as part of her $233 billion executive budget plan.