NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - The city of New York is spending $400,000 a day on hotels rooms to house homeless people, with some costing more than $600 a night. The figures come from a new report by the comptroller's office.
The number of homeless living in commercial hotels has spiked dramatically since November 2015, with more than 800 room bookings costing more than $400 a night, being picked up by taxpayers.
The mayor's office blamed the $600 a night price for some rooms on the United Nations being in session, driving up room rates. Mayoral spokeswoman Aja Worthy-Davis says the city works to contain costs. She says there's a need for "citywide acceptance" of efforts to expand shelter space.
In the past year the number of hotel rooms booked by the Department of Homeless Services jumped from 324 to 2,069 – an increase of 540 percent.
The Department of Homeless Services made a total of 425,000 hotel room bookings at a cost of more than $72.9 million in the past year.
The estimated number of homeless New Yorkers in commercial hotels skyrocketed from 696 to 5,881 individuals – a jump of more than 745 percent.
The average daily rate DHS paid for a commercial hotel room grew from $163 per night in the month of November 2015 to $194 in the month of October 2016, an increase of nearly 20 percent.
“We need a plan from the City – and we need it now,” Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said. “These costs are absolutely alarming.”
Stringer says hotel rooms cost on average about $6,600 per month, or almost $79,000 on an annual basis – nearly double the cost for any other shelter type.
A recent investigation by Comptroller Stringer’s Office found that the number of homeless children, three-years-old and younger placed in commercial hotels, skyrocketed 224 percent this summer – despite the fact they have no child care services.