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Five-year-old Damien Salinas and her family have been living in a room at the historic Roosevelt Hotel, converted into a city-run shelter for newly arrived migrant families hoping to find work, a new home, and a better life for their children. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

NYC Agrees to Spend $1.365 Billion to Rent Hotels to House Migrants

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New York City officials' ongoing quest for shelters to house the migrants flooding into Gotham has led them to rent the historic Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. And it turns out all that rental money will go to Pakistan.

Named in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt, the 19-story hotel with 1,025 rooms first opened to guests in 1924. 

The city has decided to rent the hotel in order to house migrants. Pakistan has leased the hotel through its Pakistan International Airlines Corporation to the city for the next three years for $220 million, according to Bloomberg

New York City will pay as much as $210 for each room of the hotel that closed in October 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, the outlet reported. 

slider img 2Renting the Roosevelt is nothing new as city officials have already rented other closed-down hotels to house migrants for the next three years at the astonishing cost of more than $1 billion, according to The New York Post.

The outlet reported the revised contract's projected new $1.365 billion price tag is nearly five times what the original deal called for. That staggering amount of money would just pay the rental fees to more than 100 hotels converted into emergency migrant shelters. The total doesn't include the additional cost of using city facilities and other rented sites to house the thousands of migrants who keep coming to New York City every week. 

Critics, including some Democrats, charge the city's contract with the New York Hotel Association smells like a taxpayer money giveaway, according to The Post

Nicole Gelinas, a senior fellow with The Manhattan Institute asked the outlet, "Why are we extending this contract for three years? It sends the message of not wanting to reduce this migrant population."

She told The Post the city created "one big monopoly" by giving the hotel industry an overarching contract without competing bids that could lower costs.

Democratic Queens Councilman Robert Holden said the migrant crisis has evolved into a financial boondoggle with taxpayers footing the bill to fatten the pockets of a select few. 

"It's time to halt this fiscal recklessness. Let's send those {migrant} buses to the White House and remember that 'Right to Shelter' shouldn't be misconstrued as a global entitlement," he told The Post.

Now Mayor Eric Adams wants to exclude migrants from that shelter law that says the city must give shelter to the homeless as well as migrants. WABC-TV reports the mayor is seeking to change shelter rules limiting migrants to stay in city-run facilities to 30 days. 

City officials have argued the current law is not sustainable given the number of migrants already in the city's care and those who continue to arrive. The city has said it currently has 60,000 migrants. 

Meanwhile, the Roosevelt is now a center for asylum-seekers and a symbol of the city's struggle to absorb a crush of migrants – many of whom have escaped the socialist meltdown in Venezuela. 

Meanwhile, migrants who have already been thrown out of their rooms due to the city's new stay-limit rule have been sleeping on the hotel floor for days, according to The New York Post.  The outlet also published photos of several people sleeping side by side in the middle of what was the hotel's bar with some people trying to sleep sitting up in chairs. 

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As they stream in, city officials have scrambled to open new emergency shelters, turning to tent facilities, school gyms, and parks to comply with a state law requiring housing for the homeless. There has been increasingly dire rhetoric from Adams, who warned earlier this month that the migrant crisis would "destroy New York City."

At a recent Manhattan community meeting, Adams said 110,000 asylum-seekers have come to the city since April of last year, contributing to a $12 billion budget deficit. 

"And let me tell you something, New Yorkers: never in my life have I had a problem that I did not see an ending to. I don't see an ending to this. I don't see an ending to this. This issue will destroy New York City. Destroy New York City," the Democratic mayor said.

Adams said it's mandatory that the federal government respond to this fight.  On Sept. 20, the Biden administration announced it had cleared the way for migrants from Venezuela or Afghanistan to be able to go to work immediately. 

But in an interview with WABC, Adams said the move would only immediately help approximately 15,000 migrants.  

"But we're still getting in a large number, about 10,000 a month who would not qualify for this unless they're coming from another state or city where they were already here but just coming to New York City and they were here before July 31st," the mayor said. 

As of Sept. 26, the city has received more than $140 million in federal funding for migrants. Through FEMA, it has received $30 million, which is only a fraction of the $350 million in federal aid that it requested, Vox reported

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of