An 82-room hotel in Sunnyside is being rented out by the Department of Homeless Services to house homeless families, the city agency said.
The city began housing families at the Best Western at 38-05 Hunters Point Ave. on Sept. 26, the same day elected officials and the community board were notified. All 82 rooms were rented out though only 64 are currently occupied, according to a DHS spokesperson. They anticipate that all 82 rooms will eventually be used.
In February, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would phase out the use of cluster apartments by 2021 and the use of commercial hotels as shelters by 2023.
“In the interim, while we are phasing out cluster units as first priority and increasing high-quality, borough-based shelter capacity citywide, we are using commercial hotels like this location as a bridge to provide shelter to homeless New Yorkers, including families with children, who would otherwise be turned out into the street,” said Isaac McGinn, DHS spokesperson.
According to the agency, there are currently three hotels providing housing to about 250 families in Community Board 2.
Though the city has said it will give communities 30 days’ notice when renting out commercial hotel space, in emergency situations DHS follows the right to shelter court order, which states that the city must provide basic shelter to individuals and families.
Instead of cluster sites and hotels, the administration has said it will start building permanent shelters throughout the five boroughs so that families can attend school, work and other services in their hometowns.
Sunnyside Post first reported the story.