NYC signs $275M deal to provide hotel rooms for migrants

Posted On Wed, January 18, 2023 By

Posted On Wed, January 18, 2023 By In Hotels, immigration, Policy

Mayor Eric Adams tours the Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center in Manhattan on September 15, 2022. Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr

Mayor Eric Adams has agreed to a $275 million contract with the Hotel Association of New York City to provide housing for at least 5,000 migrants–$55,000 per asylum-seeker–the New York Post reports. The emergency agreement between the city’s Department of Homeless Services and the Hotel Association, which put in a formal bid to provide shelter amid the current migrant crisis, will include up to 55 smaller hotels, according to the association’s president, Vijay Dandapani.

Dandapani told NY1 that the agreement is for six months, but could be extended, also saying that hotels with vacancies would be better suited for the task of housing migrants than high-end hotels. The hotel association is a non-profit organization that represents 300 city hotels with nearly 80,000 rooms. The group entered into a $750 million contract with former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration to provide shelter for homeless New Yorkers during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dandapani said the agreement is beneficial for both asylum-seekers and hotels, as the pandemic drastically reduced the number of business travelers. “If you don’t have people in the office buildings, you are not going to have meetings,” he said in a statement to NY1. “And if you don’t have meetings with people from out of town, you are not going to have hotel beds that are taken up.”

“Since last spring, the city has stepped up to welcome approximately 40,000 asylum seekers, providing them with shelter, food, and connections to a host of resources,” Adams said in a statement last week after submitting an emergency mutual aid request to the state for immediate help. “We have opened 74 emergency shelters and four humanitarian relief centers at breakneck speed, and done this almost entirely on our own.”

Adams also announced Friday that he had presented Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state legislature with an emergency request for immediate aid in sheltering 500 arriving asylum seekers over the weekend. As 6sqft previously reported, New York City has increasingly felt the pressure of the growing migrant crisis, which has taxed the city’s shelter system to its limits.

On Sunday, Adams visited the Mexican border in El Paso, Texas as a way to pressure the federal government for additional assistance in handling the current crisis. As Reuters reported, the mayor said “there is no room” for more migrants in New York. Adams also said services for migrants could cost the city as much as $2 billion, much higher than earlier estimates.

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