NEW YORK CITY — The troubled effort by Mayor Bill de Blasio to temporarily house homeless New Yorkers in hotels during the coronavirus pandemic has racked up a hefty price tag: $299 million, according to West Side Rag.
Since April, the city has paid to rent rooms in hotels around the city, converting them into temporary shelters to reduce crowding in the existing shelter system, lowering the risk of coronavirus outbreaks.
The program’s cost first stood at $78 million, but nearly quadrupled as the city expanded it after closing existing shelters, WSR reported, citing documents filed with the city comptroller’s office.
The hotel shelters have been poorly received in some neighborhoods, including Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where a high-profile battle has played out over the placement of nearly 300 men in the Lucerne Hotel on West 79th Street.
De Blasio bowed to political pressure last month by announcing that the Lucerne residents would be moved — initially, the city said, to the Harmonia, a Midtown shelter currently serving disabled families. That transfer threatened to set off a wave of evictions that would displace homeless residents around the city, advocates said.
After intense pushback, the city canceled most of those moves last week — except for the Lucerne, where residents are set to be moved within days to a new shelter in the Financial District.
About 10,000 New Yorkers have been moved to hotels since the onset fo the COVID-19 pandemic, the city has said.
This article originally appeared on the New York City Patch