New York City hotels set to receive over $1 billion in taxpayer funds for migrant housing

The city's hospitality industry faces transformation as the migrant crisis strains resources and impacts tourism.

New York City hotels set to receive over $1 billion in taxpayer funds for migrant housing
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File
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New York City's hotel industry is poised to receive more than $1 billion in taxpayer funds for converting their properties into migrant shelters, according to a report by the New York Post. The city currently operates 193 migrant shelters, with 153 of them—approximately 80%—being motels, hotels, or inns.

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's May analysis revealed that the city is paying an average of $156 per hotel room for migrant accommodation. However, some sources suggest that certain locations may be earning over $300 per night per room since the influx of migrants began in spring 2022.

The migrant crisis has had a significant impact on the city's economy and hospitality sector. Through May 31, New York City has spent approximately $4.88 billion on the crisis, with $1.98 billion allocated specifically to migrant housing, including hotels, motels, and temporary facilities at Randall's Island and Floyd Bennett Field.

William Shandler, a manager at Iron Bar, expressed concern about the economic impact on local businesses. "Our taxes are being used to pay for the migrants, and where are we supposed to make revenue?" he said. "How as a business could we function?"

The conversion of hotels into migrant shelters has affected the availability of rooms for tourists and disrupted the Airbnb market.

CoStar reported in November 2023 that up to 16,000 hotel rooms have been taken off the market to host migrants, potentially impacting room rates and the overall hotel inventory in the city.

Councilwoman Joann Ariola criticized the use of hotels for migrant housing, stating, "These locations were meant to boost the economy of this city, but instead they've become a net drain and are costing us enormously."

As the situation continues to evolve, many New Yorkers remain unsettled by these developments, and it remains unclear how the city plans to address the growing concerns surrounding the migrant crisis and its impact on the hospitality industry.

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