‘Wow’: Shock comes as number of NYC hotels used as immigrant shelters goes up to 135

The shocking rise in New York City hotel prices is being blamed on housing migrants in the sanctuary city, sparking angry online backlash over the latest figures.

A social media post by the popular End Wokeness account on X triggered shock and anger on the platform as even X owner Elon Musk was stunned by the numbers.

“Wow,” Musk wrote in response to the claim that “135 out the 680 hotels in NYC are now shelters for illegal immigrants.”

The graphic on the post said “Source: CoStar,” which pointed to the commercial real estate information company. Data may have been sourced from a New York Times article last month which reported that “About 135 of the city’s roughly 680 hotels entered the shelter program, with many congregated in Midtown Manhattan, Long Island City in Queens and near Kennedy International Airport — all traditional magnets for tourists.”

The question remains if all of the migrants being housed in the city’s hotel-turned-shelter are necessarily in the country illegally. The Times article focused on the rising cost of staying in the Big Apple’s hotels and whether housing migrants in nearly 20% of them has contributed to the increase.

“Dozens of hotels, from once-grand facilities to more modest establishments, closed to tourists and began exclusively sheltering migrants, striking multimillion-dollar deals with the city. The humanitarian crisis became the hotel industry’s unexpected lifeline in New York; the hotels became a safe haven for tens of thousands of asylum seekers,” the Times reported.

“Two years in, as the city’s peak tourism season is about to begin, the migrant crisis has helped dramatically shift the hotel landscape in New York. The conversion of hotels to shelters has sharply decreased the supply of rooms just as tourist demand has risen, nearly to prepandemic levels, and is projected to match a record high,” the report added.

Citing data from CoStar, the Times noted how the “average daily rate for a hotel stay in New York City increased to $301.61 in 2023, up 8.5 percent from $277.92 in 2022.”

Hotels participating in the shelter program can be compensated up to $185 a night per room, according to the city. And, as the Times notes, “Not a single one has converted back into a traditional hotel.”

The resulting scarcity has four-star hotels like citizenM in Times Square charging nearly $400 a night for a room with one bed, according to Hotels.com.

Mayor Eric Adams’ administration updated the “right to shelter ” rule in March which required the city to provide temporary housing for every requesting homeless person. The updated rules purportedly place restrictions on the length of stays at the shelters.

The number of New York City hotels now reportedly operating as shelters for migrants – legal or not – at the expense of taxpayers sent a collective wave of frustration on social media.

Frieda Powers

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