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New York City Relying on Hotels to House the Homeless

Throughout 2016, New York City has expanded the practice of renting hotel rooms to house homeless people. Now the city is looking for a vendor to shoulder some of the work of finding rooms for those in need.
December 25, 2016, 9am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Leonard Zhukovsky

Laura Nahmias, Brendan Cheney, and Dana Rubinstein report: "The de Blasio administration is looking for vendors to take over the job of finding hotel rooms in bulk for homeless New Yorkers, even as Mayor Bill de Blasio says he views hotels as a temporary, less-than-desirable solution to the city’s homelessness crisis."

The city recently released a request for proposals to find vendors able to take on the job. According to officials from the city's Department of Homeless Services, having vendors do the job saves the city money. "The city currently spends $400,000 each day to house about 7,200 people in 3,300 hotel rooms. The city’s use of hotels has expanded dramatically over the past year," according to the article.

The practice of using hotel rooms for the homeless has several prominent critics, including Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks in this quote from the New York Times in 1991: "For the city to be using the Yellow Pages to find commercial hotels for families flies in the face of everything we know about how to solve this problem." Mayor Bill de Blasio has also said that the practice is a temporary measure, though the city has no plan for ending the practice.

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Published on Thursday, December 22, 2016 in Politico New York
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