A New York City hotel was excited when the city booked 100 rooms during a notoriously slow season. But when the establishment learned that the guests were homeless people they were less than pleased.
"This is a hotel, not a shelter, and we want to keep it this way," Pierre Merhej, the general manager of the Radisson Hotel in Jamaica, Queens, told DNAinfo. "We have a business to run and a reputation to keep and we intend on keeping it."
When the Radisson first got the call, the manager was told that the city was looking to books rooms for a "government group." Once the reservations were finalized, Merhej found out that the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) would be temporarily sheltering homeless people there until the agency found a more stable solution, according to the news outlet.
This scramble to find a place to house people comes at a time when New York City’s homelessness rate is soaring.
Last month, the city saw a record high when more than 56,000 individuals were in need of stable housing, WNYC reported.
The skyrocketing issue is reaching the city’s youngest residents.
In the last five years, the number of homeless kids in the public school system jumped 63 percent, according to the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness. Queens alone experienced a 90 percent spike.
The Radisson housed the homeless guests, and said they “didn’t have an impact” on the other people at the hotel. However, the Radisson said it won’t allow DHS to book rooms again even if it were offered more money.