Hotel make up vast majority of migrant shelters, raking in millions

Hotels are set to easily rake in well over a billion dollars in taxpayer funds for turning their buildings into migrant shelters.

Of the 193 migrant shelters being used by the city to house 65,300 individuals, 153 — or nearly 80% — are hotels, motels or inns, according to an internal document obtained by The Post.

The city is spending, on average, $156 per hotel room to house migrants, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli revealed in a May analysis, while some reportedly have banked more than $300 a night per room since migrants first began being bussed up from the southern border in spring 2022.

Through May 31, of the estimated $4.88 billion spent toward the migrant crisis, $1.98 billion went toward housing. Michael Nagle

Through May 31, of the estimated $4.88 billion spent on the migrant crisis, $1.98 billion went toward housing, which includes the costs for hotels but also other shelters such as the sprawling tent cities at Floyd Bennett Field and Randall’s Island, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

Among the more staggering migrant shelter contracts is a $5.13 million-a-month deal between the 1,331-room Row NYC hotel in Midtown Manhattan and the city’s Health + Hospitals agency, according to its June board of directors report. The Crowne Plaza JFK in South Jamaica, Queens, meanwhile, landed a $2 million a month deal for use of its 335 rooms, the report noted.

William Shandler, a manager at Iron Bar located across from the Row hotel, said he and other businesses in the neighborhood were getting “hit at both ends” by the city’s decision to house migrants in luxury hotels, which previously had been filled with customers. 

“Our taxes are being used to pay for the migrants, and where are we supposed to make revenue?” said Shandler. How as a business could we function?” 

Of the 193 migrant shelters currently being used by the city to house 65,300 individuals, 153 — or nearly 80% — are hotels, motels or inns New York Post

Hotels have taken more than 16,000 rooms off the market to house migrants, according to a November report by CoStar.

And that’s a problem, according to Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R-Queens), who said hotels were built for tourism — “not for sheltering the masses of people pouring over our borders every day.”

“These locations were meant to boost the economy of this city, but instead they’ve become a net drain and are costing us enormously,” she added.

The influx of city cash has propped up the hotel industry, which saw 21,000 new rooms alone come online in the four years prior to the pandemic, according to the city’s Department of Planning.

More than 16,000 hotel rooms have been taken offline to house migrants Robert Miller

When travelers shunned New York City in 2020 during the pandemic, then-Mayor Bill de Blasio threw many hotel operators a financial lifeline by contracting shuttered commercial buildings to put up the city’s homeless in individual rooms, versus crowded shelters. 

Mayor Eric Adams has continued this trend.

The Post reported in September that the city extended a contract with the Hotel Association of New York City for three years with a stunning $1.3 billion price tag — nearly five times the original amount of $275 million — just for rental fees for housing migrants. The deal, however, can be cut short if the city finds it suddenly no longer needs the space.

In January, the city inked a $76.69 million emergency contract with HANYC to provide migrant families “last resort” shelter at 15 hotels in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx through July.

The group’s president and CEO, Vijay Dandapani, insisted he’s working with the city to ensure that the costs and commitments of housing migrants in its members’ hotels “were as low as possible.”

“We’re proud of the work we’ve done as an industry to aid the city in its mission to care for asylum seekers who arrive in NYC,” he said.

Ken Girardin, research director at the watchdog Empire Center for Public Policy, said housing migrants is walloping taxpayers.

“The migrant crisis is a gash on state and local finances, and housing is where taxpayers are bleeding most,” he said.

The Mayor’s Office declined to provide cost estimates for hotels sheltering migrants.

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