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State to Establish Fund to Buy Distressed Hotels to Provide Housing for The Homeless

State Sen. Michael Gianaris sponsored the “Housing Our Neighbors with Dignity Act’ that was signed into law Friday (Office of Senator Gianaris)

Aug. 17, 2021 By Allie Griffin

The state is establishing a fund in order to buy economically-distressed hotels and convert them into permanent housing for the homeless and people in need.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law Friday a bill called the “Housing Our Neighbors with Dignity Act” (HONDA), which calls for the creation of a fund to be used by the state to buy financially distressed hotels and commercial properties and convert them into permanent housing for vulnerable New Yorkers.

The bill was sponsored in the State Senate by Queens legislator Michael Gianaris.

The properties, once purchased and converted into permanent housing, would then be operated by non-profit housing providers, according to the new law.

Gianaris said that the new law would ease the city’s affordable housing crisis and help property owners with vacant buildings.

“New York has seen a decades-long affordable housing crunch exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic devastation,” Gianaris said. “HONDA will tackle the dual problems of distressed properties and lack of affordable housing made worse by the pandemic.”

There are more than 50,000 New Yorkers living in homeless shelters and countless others struggling to make rent, according to the senator’s office.

Bronx Assembly Member Karines Reyes sponsored the bill in the State Assembly and celebrated its signing into law alongside Gianaris.

“During the pandemic, it has been made abundantly clear that the housing crisis is a public health crisis,” Reyes said. “The Housing Our Neighbors with Dignity Act will provide the state with the tools it needs to assist New Yorkers as we continue our recovery through the pandemic.”

The program differs from the city’s practice of converting hotels into homeless shelters since it would turn the hotels and other commercial spaces into permanent affordable housing — not temporary shelters.

The fund to implement the program would be supported by money from the federal American Rescue Act. The fund could be as large as $2.2 billion, Gianaris said.

Many nonprofit leaders and housing advocates applauded the new law.

“Today, we celebrate a hard-fought victory for people experiencing homelessness, for low-income tenants, and for front-line service workers: the establishment of the Housing Our Neighbors with Dignity Act as the law of the land in New York State,” said David R. Jones, President and CEO of the Community Service Society of New York.

Activists said the law has been a long-time coming and the result of years of grassroots organizing.

“Homeless New Yorkers won back dignity they’d been denied for over a decade by Governor Cuomo, with the passage of HONDA,” Paulette Soltani, Political Director of VOCAL-NY, said. “It took years of organizing and grassroots persistence to win, and we look forward to seeing homeless New Yorkers move into permanent, affordable housing created by this new law.”

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18 Comments

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Concerned Citizen

ah yes nothing like systematically importing poverty and crime…you 100 percent know they do not vet the people that go to those shelters.

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Sal

Just seen a group of these people walking down greenpoint ave towards home suites, Music blaring smoking weed and giving us locals the eye as they went by!Wonder why we don’t want them here

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FollowThe$$s

HONDA = Real Estate Buy-Out – Just another way to take care of elected’s real estate buds.

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LIC Direct

Creating slums within our neighborhoods, there at least 2 dozen hotels in the LIC, Astoria, Woodside, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Corona, Kew Gardens, Flushing corridor already occupied by homeless and prisoners released from local and upstate jails and he wants to make this permanent. Seems like the Syndicate that controls these hotels want out of the building maintenance and looking to dump the decrepit real estate and just want to provide the lucrative services such drug addiction, counseling and other related services at inflated rates through their corrupt not for profits bilking us the taxpayer for over $3 billion a year and what is Gianaris take in all this, how much money has he taken from special interests groups, the former councilwoman based out Mayor DiBlasio’s old stomping ground of boro park Brooklyn with the principles head of the not for profit syndicate living in Lawrence LI.

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Deb

He is a progressive candidate. That has more to do with it nowadays in Astoria. Aravella Simotas was not re-elected in Astoria because she was to moderate thinking. As soon as someone younger more progressive/socialists, queer and/or a poc of color challenges Giannaris in a race for senator he will lose.

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Barbara

Sounds like a great idea. Let’s keep all the homeless away from mostly residential areas and house them where old hotels are located near the airport and Manhattan.

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Tammy

I think if this passes eventually these distressed hotels purchased by the city to house the homeless will turn into Community jails. Wake up folks.

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Ronald

Great. I wish they would also purchase distressed bakeries so we could hand out loaves of bread in abundance.

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creating beautiful neighborhoods no vote at a time

All these hotel rooms are studios with no kitchens. so will they renovate them?
because it cant be a permanent residence otherwise. also there are occupancy laws so this will be for singles and couples only? will the people in the neighborhood have a say in this? we all know that when developers build a hotel it is code for homeless shelter now they’ve made it Permanent and bypassed community boards through Legislation. when is Cuomo resigning? enough already

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NYistoast

So basically we are turning hotels into SROs which we got rid of and spreading them all over queens so every 3 star hotel will become one ,, enjoy

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The Housing Our Neighbors with Dignity Act

But will they treat their neighbors with dignity ? It never panned out with NYCHA….

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Jim

Make sure that you provide services to them at these hotels and keep criminals out otherwise not in my neighborhood. I don’t care if it bothers liberals and you can demonstrate in front of my house if you want but I count also!

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Billy

Can we send that women who lives under 46th street station to hotel. Why is she allowed to set up her camp there. Bad for real estate values.

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Bill

I despise Gianaris. He keeps getting elected in Astoria because the Greeks keep voting him in.

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dump mike G.

Many Greeks dislike him – he is a big progressive and supports late term abortions. It is the HIPSTERS who vote for him.

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Lina

Many feel the same about Costa Constantinides. He used places of worship, old timers and all the hard working families trying to make a life and raise kids here to get elected and re elected then abandoned them to cater to younger socialists and progressives. Astoria is a mess. He is even ending his term early after endorsing Caban because he found another job which probably pays more.

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