New York City’s rising immigrant population appeals to a reluctant commercial real estate sector

On September 6, Mayor Eric Adams announced, at a meeting on the Upper West Side, that the migrant crisis — which has attracted at least 110,000 migrants seeking asylum — would devastate New York City, shocking New Yorkers and outside observers alike. .

“Let me tell you something, New Yorkers, I’ve never had a problem in my life that I didn’t see an end to. “I see no end to this,” he declared. “This case will devastate New York City. “We receive 10,000 immigrants a month.”

Two days later, his administration sent a letter notifying all city agencies that they would undergo another round of across-the-board budget cuts — 5 percent this fall, followed by two additional 5 percent cuts in the spring — for a period of 15 percent of the total reduction in city spending over the months. The next few. Adams said the migrant crisis could cost the city $12 billion over the next two years.

City Budget Office Claims It will cost $2.3 billion for the current fiscal year 2024 to house and feed asylum seekers, in addition to $4.1 billion in the next fiscal year. However, the independent Fiscal Policy Institute is found He said a 15% budget cut would result in a spending cut of $9.6 billion this year and $9.7 billion next year. The proposed cuts would cut more than $2 billion in Education Department spending, and cut $1.4 billion to the Department of Social Services, which handles food stamps, rental assistance and other support programs for the city’s poorest residents.

Nathan Gosdorf, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said: “While the growth in costs for asylum seekers adds new financial pressures, the city’s request for 15 per cent cuts across all agencies – totaling $10 billion in cuts in one year – grossly overstates the budget. In estimating the financial impact of incoming immigrants. The Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute said in a statement. He noted that the city assumes it will continue to pay $383 per family each night to house migrants in hotels, disaster relief shelters and other facilities for the next two years. Gusdorf noted that this estimate assumes “no progress in finding qualified people for housing or work permits.”

Several thousand hotel rooms in the five boroughs were converted into shelters for asylum seekers, most of them funded through a contract with the New York City Hotel Association Foundation. The group is the charitable arm of the city’s largest hotel trade organization, representing 300 hotels with 80,000 rooms. The original $238 million contract covers approximately 55 hotels that will include “At least 5,000 immigrants“,” New York Post Reported in January. The size of the contract has expanded since then, with more than 100 hotels now housing migrants, according to Vijay Dandapani, president of the Hotel Association of New York City.

Hotels in the contract include Midtown’s Roosevelt Hotel – off Hundreds of migrants slept on the sidewalk for days Waiting to be processed in early August – the Redberry Hotel In NoMad, and the Collective Paper Mill in Long Island City, Queens, which only I traded at a loss Last month.

“The hotel industry is not going backwards,” Dhandapani explained. “If that were the case, you wouldn’t have a bunch of hotels trying to get this business. At the end of two or three years, your room would be destroyed — the furniture, the curtains, the bathroom, everything would have to be gone.”

He pointed out that 7,000 rooms are still closed and 11,000 rooms are housing asylum seekers. Even as immigrants boost the city’s hotel business, hotel occupancy rates have lagged pre-pandemic 2019 levels by 5 to 10 percent throughout this year. He added that hotels associated with major brands such as Hilton and Marriott were selling for $500,000 per room, and now their owners are lucky if they are able to fetch $200,000 per room.

“Based on the skyline they see now, this is the perfect location,” Dandapani said. “Every hotel we’ve come across has taken a thoughtful look at this. Your heating bill will go up, your lobby air conditioning will go up. And even after all that, they’re still thinking about it.”

The city has managed to avoid publicizing the details of many of its contracts with hotels and other property owners, largely by signing contracts with New York City Health + Hospitals (H+H) rather than with the city’s social services or emergency relief agencies. While many hotels-turned-shelters are paid for through the Hotel Association’s contract with the public hospital system, some hotels have signed contracts directly with H+H.

A report issued by the city controller’s office in March Confirmed contracts With the owners of the Wolcott Hotel on West 31st Street in Koreatown, the Watson Hotel on West 57th Street in Hell’s Kitchen, and the Stewart Hotel on Seventh Avenue near Penn Station. The city has released relatively few details about the hotel contracts through public records requests from reporters. but, New York times mentioned In March, the city paid Stewart’s owner Patriarch Equities — which includes Isaac and Eli Chetrit and Ray and Jack Yadidi of the Sioni Group — $200 a night for the 611-room hotel. If the city rents the entire hotel, it will pay $3.6 million per month. It was the building Established For residential transfer.

The city also established 13 Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers (HERRCs), which are large disaster relief tents containing rows of cots, dining areas, and trailers parked on site for bathrooms and showers. Office of the Comptroller estimated The cost of daily housing for a migrant family in HERRCs is likely to be higher than the cost of a hotel, which was $339 per night in March. The HERRCs have been funded to date through a $310 million contract with H+H. Two Texas-based disaster relief contractors, SLCO and Garner Environmental Services, received contracts last November worth a total of $165 million to help build and operate emergency shelters. But the city is striving And even more subcontractors To establish HERRCs, according to a notice published in City Register Last month.

“I wish the HERRC contracts weren’t under the Health + Hospitals umbrella,” said Christine Quinn, a former City Council president who now runs the homeless services organization WIN. “Because H+H is an off-budget agency, there is less transparency than if it were under the Department of Health or the Department of Homeland Security.”

She said the city should use housing vouchers instead of hotels to house immigrants.

“The best way to provide housing for these people is to give them a housing voucher so they can pay their rent in the private sector,” Quinn said. “Housing vouchers are the cheapest way to house people — $72 a night. Hotels, where you get the least amount of service — $383 a night. Why would we want to spend more and get less, and not get permanent housing? We could save about $3 billion.” “.

The Adams administration is also facing lawsuits on multiple fronts, for overturning its requirements to shelter asylum seekers and forcing counties surrounding New York to shelter migrants. State and city battle in court over New York City’s right to shelter, dating back to 1930 Consent Decree of 1981 Requiring the city to provide unhoused New Yorkers with a place to sleep. Governor Kathy Hochul He said It will not force other cities and towns to shelter immigrants, and its lawyers have done so I sent messages Details state efforts to help the city find sites to shelter or resettle immigrants outside the five boroughs.

While the state transferred nearly two dozen of its properties to the city to provide shelters, the Adams administration deemed only a handful acceptable to house asylum seekers. These sites include the defunct Lincoln Correctional Facility in Harlem, the hangar at JFK Airport, and the parking lot of the half-abandoned Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens. The city recently completed HERRC shelters for 4,000 people in Creedmoor and Randalls Island, and is working on establishing others at Floyd Bennett Field in South Brooklyn. Floyd Bennett is controlled by the National Park Service and Agreement required With the federal government.

However, the mayor, governor and New York’s most powerful business leaders are united on one point – calling on the federal government to step in and help. While New York officials want more federal funding, they are desperate for President Joe Biden to grant temporary protected status to asylum seekers, especially those who have fled violence and unrest in Venezuela and make up an estimated 40 percent of New York’s current migrant population. York City. This status would allow immigrants to obtain work permits much faster.

Katherine Wilde, president of the Partnership for New York City, a group that represents the city’s largest corporations as well as major real estate firms such as Silverstein Properties and Newmark, said she believes allowing fast-track work permits may help solve some of the underlying issues at play.

The counties surrounding New York “won’t accept people because they can’t go to work,” Wild said. “It’s a completely different conversation if people can get work permits. The idea is for people to get TPS to go to work, at least for Venezuelans. The White House could unilaterally reinstate TPS for Venezuelans.

Wilde and its membership He coined An open letter to President Biden and congressional leaders on August 28, calling for more federal funding for food and shelter and speeding up federal processing of asylum and work permit applications.

She stressed that her organization does not support the right to shelter for asylum seekers.

“We support New York being a sanctuary city, and across the country there are a few dozen sanctuary cities,” Wild explained. “They can go to our hospitals, they can enroll their children in our schools, and they won’t be turned over to ICE. That’s very different from promising to take care of the world and provide food and shelter for tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands.”

“We do not support the right to shelter for people who are not city residents. We have to stop the flow, and the only way to do that is for the federal government to take action and for the city to make clear that the right to shelter does not apply to this migrant population.”

Two state lawmakers — Queens Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz and Bronx Sen. Luis Sepulveda — have Introduce a bill It aims to allow the state to issue temporary work permits to non-citizens. It is unclear whether the state has the authority to do so, because it would be tantamount to getting around federal immigration law regarding work permit rules. State Sen. Zellnor Myrie also introduced A The city’s version of the federal work permit programsimilar to the IDNYC program that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain a local photo ID.

Meanwhile, the city announced efforts to help more migrants apply for asylum and work permits, and the federal government ramped up funding for local governments to deal with the crisis, including 140 million dollars To New York City.

White House Pledge too Earlier in September – around the time of Mayor Adams’ remarks – to “work with New York State and New York City on a month of action to help close the gap between non-citizens who qualify for work authorization and those who have applied, to meet employment needs.” needs in New York.”

Rebecca Bird-Remba can be reached at

(Tags for translation)Eric Adams

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