De Blasio faces progressive ire over push to boot homeless from NYC hotels amid COVID spike: ‘It’s obscene’

De Blasio faces progressive ire over push to boot homeless from NYC hotels amid COVID spike: ‘It’s obscene’

Mayor de Blasio drew blistering criticism Wednesday from Democratic City Comptroller candidate Brad Lander and other progressives furious with his attempt to move thousands of homeless New Yorkers out of hotels and into congregate-style shelters despite growing concern over the city’s spike in coronavirus infections.

Speaking outside of one of those hotels, the Indigo in downtown Brooklyn, Lander and several Democratic City Council candidates railed against de Blasio’s argument that it’s better for homeless New Yorkers to go back into shelters because they can access COVID-19 vaccines and social services there.

“There are many, many places that people can go to get vaccines, so it’s obscene to use the idea that you could only provide them in congregated shelters,” said Lander, who won the Democratic primary to replace Comptroller Scott Stringer.

In fact, homeless New Yorkers will be at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 if they are moved back into shelters, said Shekar Krishnan, who won the Democratic primary to represent City Council District 25, which covers parts of Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, Queens.

“Shelters are one of the main sites of COVID spread,” said Krishnan, noting that vaccination rates are as low as 10% in many shelters. “So I think the mayor’s points there are just really factually just not true.”

Instead of focusing on emptying out hotels, Lander and the other progressives said de Blasio should tap emergency rule-making powers to immediately implement Intro 146, a bill passed by the City Council earlier this year that would increase the dollar amount of rent vouchers for the homeless to help them move directly into permanent housing.

During a briefing earlier Wednesday, the mayor declined to say if he’d be willing to fast-track Intro 146 and reiterated that he believes shelters are the best option for the homeless.

“We have the ability to help people with all the other challenges that they have much better in shelters,” de Blasio said. “This is the way forward.”

The city’s plan to relocate the roughly 8,000 homeless New Yorkers who have been living in hotels during the pandemic hit a snag earlier this month, when a federal judge temporarily blocked it, ruling the mayor wasn’t adequately considering the health of those impacted.

However, the administration says it plans to soon move ahead with the evictions after adjusting the relocation process in accordance with the judge’s ruling.

That’s in spite of the fact that the city’s coronavirus infection rates are steadily ticking upward due to the exceedingly contagious delta variant.

Carlos, a homeless man who has lived at the Indigo for most of the pandemic, showed the Daily News a letter he received this week saying that he will be moved back to a shelter at some point after July 27, seemingly confirming the city is moving ahead with evictions.

Carlos, who declined to give his last name because he said he doesn’t want his boss to know he’s homeless, said he has never been able to access adequate services in shelters despite de Blasio’s claim.

“This is a lie, a plain lie,” Carlos said.





Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

premade image 03 - De Blasio faces progressive ire over push to boot homeless from NYC hotels amid COVID spike: ‘It’s obscene’

Read Stories Of Hope


Sign up to today receive a monthly newsletter with inspiring stories about how BFTS has helped give hope to people living on the streets.

Proving that being homeless doesn't mean hopeless.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This