New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) promised on Monday that he would start moving some of the 13,000 homeless people he put into the city’s hotels back into shelters after receiving complaints from residents and officials.
“It’s important to note that as the health situation has continued to improve, we’re gonna start the process of figuring out where we can get homeless individuals back into safe shelter facilities and reduce the reliance on hotels,” the mayor said during a press conference.
The mayor gave no detail of how he’d move 13,000 homeless people back to shelters or when the process would begin.
The city moved thousands of homeless people to avoid a COVID-19 outbreak in the homeless shelters and cost the city $175, per person, per night a staggering total of $2.27m a day. The city already has a $9billion deficit from the pandemic.
The u-turn came after Midtown residents complained about aggressive panhandling, public urination, narcotic use and other quality-of-life infringements blamed on homeless people housed in hotels in Hell’s Kitchen and nearby neighborhoods according to NY1.
In late July, the New York Post reported, “A cluster of junkies has turned Broadway into a shooting gallery, injecting drugs unhampered in broad daylight and then shuffling around in a zonked-out stupor, seemingly oblivious to the Midtown bustle around them.”
“There’s no police action, there’s no reach-out. There’s nobody preventing this, and you know we’ve had multiple calls to 311 but nobody really responds,” said a man identified as James. “It’s becoming a real problem.”
“A homeless encampment in Manhattan’s affluent Chelsea neighborhood and continued to thrive even after de Blasio learned of it weeks prior and vowed to take action. As the encampment has grown, it has blocked the entryways to local businesses and deterred potential customers and neighborhood residents from walking in that area,” Breitbart reported.
Homelessness in the city has been escalating since March and was made worse by the NYPD’s budget being cut, which dissolved its homeless outreach unit leading to the NYPD no longer intervening.