Stop Creating More Hotel Shelters For Homeless – NYC Should Instead Focus On Permanent, Supportive, Affordable Housing To Solve These Issues, Not Lucrative Contracts

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Malliotakis, Brooklyn Community Call for Repeal of City Zoning Laws to Stop Creation of Hotel Shelters
Highlighted waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars in lucrative homeless shelter contracts
Editor’s note: The NYC Mayor’s proposal to allow places of worship to build affordable housing for New Yorkers also requires different zoning changes as well, in order to build apartments on their existing property.  Assertive Kids Foundation has previously proposed creating apartment buildings for homeless city residents to live at in small apartments, with services and jobs to help them become self-sufficient located on site. 
Such places would be run by local charities, and their construction and continued operations would be funded by public donations and municipal grants, where possible.  Their goal is ultimately to encourage residents to find more permanent, larger housing.   Staten Islander News last year interviewed Zack Hodgson from the Salvation Army in Manhattan who organizes their annual Don’t Walk By event, reaching out to homeless New Yorkers and informing them of available services.  We also spoke with Professor Edelman about the criminalization of homelessness across the United States.  To view all of our coverage on topics relating to homelessness, please click here.     
(BROOKLYN, NY) – Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) joined concerned members of the Brooklyn community in calling on the City Council to repeal zoning laws that’ve allowed hotels to be turned into shelters as of right without any input from the community. The calls come as the city is proposing a new homeless shelter in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, that would provide temporary housing for 150 homeless men, including those with mental health challenges, in proximity to six different schools in the neighborhood.
In addition to calling on the city to repeal the 2018 law and focus on permanent, supportive, and affordable housing options, Malliotakis is calling on the city to follow New York State law that requires a public hearing before a shelter is sited, and implement a minimum residency requirement of two or more years so people aren’t incentivized to move to New York City for the sole reason of obtaining free shelter at taxpayers’ expense.
“The City should repeal its 2018 law that ignores zoning requirements and community input to allow shelters as of right. And, instead of warehousing people, the city should focus its efforts and resources on more permanent and sustainable solutions like supportive and affordable housing,” Congresswoman Malliotakis said. “Property owners are now building hotels for the sole reason of entering lucrative contracts with the city, robbing taxpayers of their hard-earned money, and deteriorating quality of life in their communities. The focus is no longer on helping homeless individuals and providing them with resources to turn their lives around; it’s all about exploiting loopholes in current law to profit off of their misfortune.”
Specifically, under the 2018 Citywide Hotels Text Amendment, Article Four, Section B, “Transient Hotels” may be used for “temporary housing assistance” by the City, State, or non-governmental entity in cooperation with government partners. According to data from the New York City Department of Homeless Services, hotel shelters contracted with the city are being paid daily rates ranging from $55 to $385, which on the high end, adds up to more than $11,500 for one room per month. Meanwhile, the average monthly mortgage payment is New York City is $2,991, and the average rent payment is $3,741.
Fraud schemes in homeless shelter contracts have been rising across the country, including earlier this month when a New York City contractor pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges in connection siphoning money from homeless shelter contracts worth $12 million. In October, two men were charged with conspiring to defraud New York City of more than $50 million after they were caught funneling money from a nonprofit intended to help the homeless to other companies they owned.
WATCH MALLIOTAKIS’ PRESS CONFERENCE BELOW


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Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis

Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis was sworn in on January 3, 2021 to represent Staten Island and Southern Brooklyn. Prior to serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis was elected to the New York State Assembly on November 2, 2010, defeating a two-term incumbent. In the Assembly, she served as Minority Whip and the ranking minority member of the Assembly Committee on Governmental Employees. For five terms, Congresswoman Malliotakis fought to restore ethics in Albany, expand transit service in her district, improve programs for senior citizens, reform education and improve New York’s economic climate by reducing the tax burden on small businesses and residents. A cornerstone of her tenure was helping her community recover and rebuild following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. In addition to advocating for these same issues in Washington, Congresswoman Malliotakis is acutely focused on securing New York’s fair share of federal mass transit funding, which would go towards expanding transportation services and easing traffic congestion, while also championing public safety by supporting our nation’s law enforcement officers. Congresswoman Malliotakis is the daughter of immigrants, her father from Greece and her mother a Cuban exile of the Castro dictatorship. She is currently the only Republican member representing New York City in Congress, representing a district spanning the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island. She is a passionate advocate for animal rights and the strengthening of animal cruelty laws, and in her spare time, enjoys spending time with her chihuahua, Peanut.

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