The city will begin the process of leaving “hotels for the homeless”

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Days after NY1 reported on conditions at surrounding Midtown hotels that had been converted to homeless shelters, the mayor said he would see it for himself.”Of course, I’m aware of that,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday. “I want to be very clear that I am concerned any time there might be a problem for the neighborhood. ”

He added: “I will definitely pick myself up too. ”

Earlier this year, to protect the homeless from the coronavirus, the city moved thousands of people staying in overcrowded homeless shelters to hotels. The highest concentration of these hotels is in Midtown.

Now locals are expressing concern, saying there are more drugs in the area. Some claim to have been subjected to “aggressive physical and verbal behavior”.

On Monday, the mayor said it might be time to think about moving homeless people out of hotels and returning them to shelters.

“As the situation, the health situation, has continued to improve, we will begin the process of determining where we can bring the homeless back to safe shelters and reduce reliance on hotels,” said by Blasio. “Hotels are definitely not where we want to be in general, and we will start this process immediately. ”

De Blasio gave no timetable for the movements.

“We obviously had a problem, because we had a lot of people nearby when the coronavirus hit,” the mayor said. “We are not going to allow this problem to happen again, but we have to start the process of checking out hotels. We will have more to say about this as both planes are more deeply developed and we see what the health situation is showing us. ”

Advocates don’t want homeless New Yorkers to be back anytime soon. They argue that re-placing people in overcrowded shelters would be a health risk. During the pandemic, 104 homeless New Yorkers have died from the virus.

Getting people back, they say, could cost lives.

“Considering everything we know about COVID and how it spreads and its impact on people living in communities, we absolutely do not and should not put homeless people at risk in collective shelters, ”said Giselle Routhier of the Coalition for the Homeless. “In collective shelters you will share dormitories, bathrooms, dining rooms in an enclosed indoor space, perhaps without adequate ventilation, and these are not the conditions we need to help promote health. individual and public.

A spokesperson for the Department of Homeless Services told NY1 that the city will notify communities when it is safe to move people out of hotels, adding that they do not plan to use them on an ongoing basis.

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