A coalition of advocates who want to keep the city’s homeless in hotels and out of the beleaguered shelter system held a “sleep-out” next to Gracie Mansion to make their case.
About 8,000 homeless people were moved out of the packed shelters and into approximately 60 hotels last year, in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19.
With the pandemic easing, the city sought to move the homeless out of hotels and back to shelters in June. But the effort was paused by court order earlier this month.
The city is set to renew its effort to return the homeless to shelters Monday, prompting the Gracie Mansion protest.
The mayor is “violating the rights of the homeless” by attempting to move them back to shelters, said Corrinne Low, co-founder of Upper West Side Open Hearts, which hosted the Gracie Mansion protest this week with other activists.
She cited safety from COVID-19 and the Delta variant as the main reason hotels are safer than shelters.
“Congregate shelters were extremely dangerous and violent pre-COVID,” said activist Shams DaBaron, who claims he has spent much of his life in shelters. “People are going to go back to the same decrepit environments. It will cause death and it will cause harm.”
The same activist group is hosting a news conference Monday outside the Lucerne Hotel on the Upper West Side, which has been at the center of the hotel homeless controversy for the past year.