New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has accused Gov Andrew Cuomo of preventing local officials from moving at least 8,000 homeless people living in Midtown Manhattan hotels to permanent shelters.
De Blasio addressed the issue at a press briefing on Wednesday where he said he’s been waiting since May 18 for Cuomo’s authorization to start the relocation process of the homeless individuals who were temporarily put up in about 60 to 70 hotels near Hells’ Kitchen and Times Square during the pandemic.
‘Everything is ready to go,’ de Blasio said. ‘It is time to move homeless folks who were in hotels for a temporary period of time back to shelters where they can get the support they need.’
De Blasio’s comments came as his administration faces mounting pressure to curtail violence in New York City and the surrounding boroughs, particularly in the southern half of Manhattan were many of the hotels accommodating the homeless are located.
The police precinct that includes Times Square and many of the hotels has seen a 183 percent spike in felony assaults and 173 percent spike in robberies so far this year compared to 2020, according to NYPD data.
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New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said during Wednesday’s press briefing that he’s been waiting for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign off on authorization to relocate the homeless form Manhattan hotels to shelters
The NYPD have now set up a command post and metal barriers in Midtown Manhattan in a bid to crack down on violent crime that is being fueled, in part, by an illegal drug market between Penn Station and Port Authority Bus Terminal. Police say crime has spiked in that area after hundreds of homeless were rehoused there in hotels during COVID
Once Cuomo gives the okay, de Blasio said he expects to be able to move all the homeless people into shelters by the end of July.
During Wednesday’s press briefing, de Blasio estimated there are still at least 8,000 homeless people living in those hotels.
Gov. Cuomo, picture here at the One World Trade Center Tower on June 15, hasn’t commented on de Blasio’s claims
Cuomo’s office did not immediately return DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
Many of the relocated homeless people have blended into the area, but others who who struggle with mental health issues and substance abuse have become a growing presence near people’s homes and in high-trafficked tourist destinations.
Crime in the area – heavily concentrated on Eighth Avenue between Penn Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal near Times Square – has soared this year, according to the NYPD.
NYPD crime data shows there have been 174 assaults, 150 robberies and four shootings that left two tourists injured in that area between January and May.
Police set up a command post and metal barriers in Midtown Manhattan to crack down on violent crime that’s being fueled, in part, by an illegal drug market between Penn Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
A heavy police presence was found outside the Holiday Inn Hotel on Eighth Ave between 38th and 39th Street on Monday
The NYPD have now set up a command post and metal barriers in Midtown Manhattan in a bid to crack down on violent crime
Scott Sobol, 44, a real estate agent who lives in Hell’s Kitchen, believes only a few of the homeless residents were responsible for the complaints and faulted officials for not vetting them for mental health issues, drug problems and criminal histories.
‘What (neighbors) want is to stop getting harassed on the street,’ he told Reuters. ‘If a homeless rehabilitation center can coexist with a sense of polite life, we have no issues with it.’
‘Right now, there are a lot of homeless people hanging around, a lot of pee on every corner,’ said Min Kim, who owns the Star Lite Deli in Times Square. ‘Tourists will be coming back, and it’s not really good for them.’
Before the pandemic hit, the city was housing 3,500 people in hotel rooms who would otherwise be out on the street, Curbed.com reported.
Soon after Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in March 2020, the de Blasio administration suspended its procurements rules and struck a deal with New York City’s hotel industry to provide rooms for about 9,500 addition homeless people in exchange for $300million.