Homeless New Yorkers ask mayor to keep them in hotels instead of transferring to shelters
Many of the city’s homeless are calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to keep them in hotels after many were transferred from shelters at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in order to socially distance.
At the height of the pandemic, the city transferred nearly 8,000 shelter residents to hotels. However, some say this decision is unsafe.
“The coronavirus is still back on its third spread, and we're going back to 12 people inside of a room. So how do they not expect people to get sick?” said shelter resident Shanique Livingston.
The Department of Homeless Services tells News 12 that temporary housing is phasing out as COVID-19 rates remain low. They say they are keeping an open dialogue with communities.
Residents say they’ve been left in the dark in regard to the exact date of move. “They kept saying two weeks, two weeks. I'm uneasy because we're just supposed to move around fast. It's unorganized,” said Livingston.
In May, the City Council voted to increase rental vouchers for the homeless to $1,900. Advocates are calling for funds to be released immediately, but it might take several months to go into effect.
“It acts like a Section 8. Once they put money on it, people do not have to go back to congregate shelters. Instead they can use the money to look for an apartment,” said homeless advocate Marcus Moore.
The Department of Homeless Services says the process of transferring clients back to shelters will also take some time, but that it's hoping it will be completed by the end of July.