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Was Housing the Homeless Population in Hotels a Good Idea?

Julia Tucker

Posted on September 26, 2020 20:28

3 users

Housing the homeless population in hotels has its ups and downs. It has caused an uproar among residents in New York City and led them to feel unsafe, but it has helped contain some of the spread of COVID-19 and kept hotels from struggling.

I recently planned a trip to New York City and booked a hotel in the Chelsea neighborhood, which is known to be a very good area in Manhattan. I immediately started reading the reviews. To my surprise, there were several recent reviews mentioning that the hotel was housing homeless people. The reviews were mainly complaints of people walking around barefoot in the hotel’s lobby area; a guest’s phone was stolen, and the noise was stated to be terrible.

After reading the reviews, I began doing research and found that several hotels in New York City were housing homeless populations to get by during the pandemic. According to The New York Times, the Department of Homeless Services has placed close to 10,000 homeless individuals into around 60 different hotels across the city. The goal was to prevent the spread of coronavirus among the homeless population in the shelters. The hotels are also given about $174 a night per room, which helps keep them afloat with the decreasing number of tourists traveling to the city since early spring.

Some of the hotels were thankful to be used as temporary shelters to make up for lost money, but residents of the areas were not happy at all. The final straw was when homeless men began moving into The Lucerne Hotel, which is a 4-star hotel located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. During the four months that the homeless men lived at The Lucerne, there were around 1,300 calls made to 3-1-1, all of which were complaints about the homeless population. This number can be compared to the 500 homeless-related calls made the few months before the men moved into The Lucerne.

There was even a Facebook group created when the men started moving into the fancy hotel, which is called "Upper West Siders for Safer Streets." The group currently has over 15,000 members. In the about section of the group, you can find details about the homeless men using drugs, fist fighting, panhandling, damaging property and more. Many of the residents of the Upper West Side were planning to sue the city if they did not move the homeless population out immediately.

On the other hand, Giselle Routhier, who is a policy director for the Coalition for the Homeless, mentioned that housing homeless individuals is vital to saving lives during this pandemic. The individuals are poor, have nowhere to go and need to quarantine in a safe place if they have contracted COVID-19. Although the 700 men at The Lucerne have been moved, there are still several hotels across New York City that are housing the homeless population. Without the $174 per room from the Department of Homeless Services, the Hotel Association of New York City believes that many of the hotels will be forced to close. The Hilton Times Square, a hotel with 478 rooms, will shut its doors permanently on October 1st, which will put over 200 employees out of work.

Julia Tucker

Posted on September 26, 2020 20:28

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Source: FOX News

New York City would increase its number of homeless shelters but seek to stop putting up homeless people in hotels and private...

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