New York City officials will soon start the process of removing homeless people from the city’s hotels, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) promised Monday.
“It’s important to note that as the health situation has continued to improve, we’re gonna start the process of figuring out where we can get homeless individuals back into safe shelter facilities and reduce the reliance on hotels,” the mayor said during a press conference.
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— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) August 17, 2020
However, he did not give a timeline as to when the process would begin.
The city moved thousands of homeless people from crowded shelters into hotels earlier this year to protect them from the coronavirus, according to NY1.
As a result, Midtown residents said there was more narcotics use in the area, and they had been subjected to “aggressive physical and verbal behavior,” the outlet noted.
In late July, a group of alleged drug addicts took over an area of Midtown Manhattan and were reportedly seen using heroin in broad daylight, according to the New York Post.
“There’s no police action, there’s no reach-out. There’s nobody preventing this, and you know we’ve had multiple calls to 311 but nobody really responds,” said a man identified as James. “It’s becoming a real problem.”
In addition, a homeless encampment in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood continued to thrive even after de Blasio learned of it weeks prior and vowed to take action, according to Breitbart News.
“As the encampment has grown, it has blocked the entryways to local businesses and deterred potential customers and neighborhood residents from walking in that area,” the article read.
However, de Blasio claimed Monday that he was “concerned any time I hear that there might be something causing a problem for a neighborhood,” adding that city personnel was monitoring the situation:
I’m certainly going to go look for myself as well. What we know is that as a result of the coronavirus, we did have to move some shelter residents out of congregant shelter into hotels. This is not something we normally would have wanted to do at all, and it did cause some challenges. But we’re addressing them case by case on the ground. Anyone who sees a problem they should call 311. It will be addressed immediately.
“Hotels are certainly not where we want to be in general, and we’re gonna start that process immediately,” he concluded.