Holiday Inn on Delancey Partially Housing Homeless without Neighborhood Notice, Residents Say [Updated]
Word came down the pike over the weekend that a small percentage of vacant rooms inside the four-year-old lodge has been housing the homeless since late last month. We further heard from upset neighbors who questioned why the area at large was not notified in advance of this decision.
Indeed, to date we’ve not seen or heard notice from the Department of Homeless Services, Margaret Chin, or Community Board 3. Only a grassroots flyer being circulated around the neighborhood.
When asked about the deal, CB3 District Manager Susan Stetzer confirmed via email that the Holiday Inn is in fact sheltering homeless. In response to our follow-up query about how the advisory body would alert the community at large, Stetzer replied that there “has never been a procedure” as far as said alerts. In addition, the hotel staff we spoke with, for its part, had no knowledge of this situation, and denied rooms being used as such.
According to the Daily News, Mayor de Blasio, whose “Turning the Tide” plan aims to stock citywide hotel vacancies with homeless, previously stated that “When we create a new shelter facility, we will provide 30 days’ notice or more. That is going to be a strict rule.” (Cost to taxpayers is approximately $175 per night.) No advanced notice seems to be a trend, though. The paper reported that The Kewl hotel in Kew Gardens was bestowed only 24-hours.
Given the staggering number of hotels competing for business around the neighborhood, some locals fear the worst. That the Lower East Side with its potential glut of hotel room vacancies might become a homeless shelter “dumping ground” (i.e. without public discussion) much in the way it was for out of scale nightlife.
Arianna Fishman from DHS provided the following statement: “We are currently using rooms in this commercial hotel to shelter homeless New Yorkers who would otherwise be turned out onto the street—and we have no plans to convert this location into ongoing shelter capacity. Our use of this location is on a temporary basis to ensure our homeless neighbors are supported as they get back on their feet, not turned out into the streets, while we implement our plan to expand ongoing high-quality borough-based shelter capacity and finally end the use of ineffective stop-gap measures, like commercial hotels, that date back decades. Communities will be the first to know as new locations are identified.”