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Mayor Bill de Blasio has again pledged to move homeless residents from local hotels back to congregate shelters by the end of July — providing New York State gives approval.
In his press conference on Wednesday, the Mayor said: “We’re going to start the process of moving homeless folks back to shelters, where they can get the support they need. In shelters is where we can provide support, a variety of services, and that pathway into a better life.”
Governor Cuomo’s reopening of New York earlier in the week after the threshold of 70% of adults being vaccinated was passed has given the green light for this action. The Mayor said the changes will involve moving 8,000 New Yorkers who are currently in 60 temporary hotels.
There has been criticism of the concentration of homeless hotels in Hell’s Kitchen. During the pandemic, over 800 men were placed in one Hell’s Kitchen block that has caused significant public safety issues for residents. However, some hotel programs (not run by the city) have given significant benefits to those looking to move out of the shelter system.
The homeless and their advocates are protesting against the action. “We’re not chess pieces,” Peter Trapani, who has spent time in both homeless shelters and a hotel, told Gothamist. “We’re human beings who need some place to live. Sixteen men to a room is not living.”
De Blasio said that the move could not start without state sign-off. “Once we get that sign-off, we can start immediately moving people to shelters and getting back to that work of moving them forward in their lives,” said the Mayor.