Mayor Eric Adams has agreed to a $275 million contract with the Hotel Association of New York City to house at least 5,000 migrants, according to the organization’s president, Vijay Dandapani.
It is unclear how many hotels will participate, but Dandapani says the hotels will be doing so voluntarily. And he added that the six-month agreement with the city could be extended.
“The contract is for hotels that are voluntarily looking to participate in providing rooms for migrants, and that is really all there is to it,” Dandapani said.
The New York Post first reported the deal.
Dandapani does not expect high-end hotels to sign up to house migrants. Instead, hotels with vacancies will likely be better fits.
“There are no gold-plated rooms that are being given away contrary to any reports that you may have seen,” Dandapani said.
The Hotel Association of New York City is a nonprofit that represents nearly 300 city hotels with 80,000 rooms. According to Dandapani, the group signed a $750 million contract with former Mayor Bill de Blasio to house homeless New Yorkers in 75 hotels during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dandapani thinks this recent deal could help both migrants and hotels. There are hotels — both big and small — that have not been able to recover from the pandemic.
“[COVID-19] hit us in a more adverse fashion than almost any city in the United States,” Dandapani said. “[Hotels] have not recovered.”
Since many workers have not fully returned to the office, there has been less business travel and meetings, according to Dandapani.
“If you don’t have people in the office buildings, you are not going to have meetings. And if you don’t have meetings with people from out of town, you are not going to have hotel beds that are taken up,” Dandapani said.