NYC Hotels Converted Into Shelters as Asylum Seekers Keep Coming

by Joshua Brown
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The Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, which had been closed for three years, is about to reopen as a place for people who are asking for protection (asylum seekers). This hotel and other hotels in the city are being turned into emergency shelters.

Mayor Eric Adams said Saturday that the city will be using an area called the Roosevelt to give shelter for around 1,000 people coming from other countries. This is because the rules were changed recently, called Title 42, and now those who are trying to look for a safe place in America won’t be sent away from the U.S.-Mexico border.

– – A Honduran teenager passed away while in US immigration custody. He wanted to experience living the American Dream.

– – The Mexican border is experiencing an orderly crossing for migrants due to new rules now in effect.

Hotels across the city that were made for tourists are now being used as emergency shelters. These places in prime locations can be easily seen from Times Square, the World Trade Center memorial site and the Empire State Building. The city must offer shelter to anyone who needs it even if there isn’t enough space. That’s why they have asked for help from both state and federal governments for more space.

The mayor said in a statement that New York City has taken care of 65,000 asylum seekers by setting up 140 emergency shelters and 8 massive centers to help with this crisis happening throughout the country.

Back in 1948, New York Governor Thomas Dewey chose a hotel near Grand Central Terminal as his election headquarters. Unfortunately, he wrongly declared that he had beaten Harry Truman to become the President of the United States from Roosevelt Hotel.

The city is looking for buildings to turn into shelters for people needing a place to live. One of them is the 50-story Holiday Inn in Manhattan’s Financial District that recently had ‘closed’ signs on the windows. The hotel’s owner decided to reopen it as a shelter since it makes good financial sense for them.

Markowitz said the hotel is renting out every room at a certain price each night and this is bringing in more money than usual. Lately, the city has been using hotels to house people who don’t have homes when there are not enough shelters or other options available.

At the beginning of the pandemic, there were a lot of people in group shelters, making it hard to stay socially distanced. So the city rented out hotel rooms as places for people to stay away from other people. As time passed and things got better, the hotels weren’t being used much anymore.

But that changed when last year people started arriving in buses. The Watson Hotel on West 57th Street used to be really popular because it has a rooftop pool and it’s near Central Park. But now they’re using it to house migrant families instead.

The city’s Department Of Social Services said that it is their job to provide homes for anyone who needs one. They want to make sure they use all the tools they have available to them so everyone can be taken care of.

Before many people were looking for new places to live, the city was already having problems with homeless people and not enough inexpensive homes. New York even said it would take people from other areas and put them in hotels in nearby towns, but these towns did not like this idea. The leader of the Hotel Association of New York City said that the city must start working on long term plans to solve this problem.

The government thought that it did not look good to use hotels to house the homeless because they thought taxpayers would think their money was being spent on providing luxury living conditions. However, some people said this is better than using a barracks-style which the city usually uses. Kassi Keith (55), who is homeless, agreed with this plan.

Keith said “Having your own room gives you peace of mind, so you can sleep without worrying.”

Earlier this year, a group of migrants were unhappy because they had to move into crowded little living spaces with no privacy or hot showers. They also didn’t have enough bathrooms and the area was far away from any public transportation.

The Roosevelt Hotel is opening this week as a place where people can get help and information about legal, medical matters. It will have 175 rooms for families with young kids. There are also 150 separate rooms that are open for asylum seekers.

David Giffen, the leader of Coalition for the Homeless, said when you offer people something important, like a hotel room, then it’s likely that people will respond to this really positively. The rooms also provide them with privacy and respect.

But, David added that hotels can’t solve the bigger issue of not having enough permanent and affordable housing.

He said that our bad housing system means people who aren’t rich end up having to stay in shelters instead of homes. And the problem is that there aren’t enough beds in the shelters, so hotels are being used instead.

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