126 Water St., Photo by Gabriella Bass. TheNYPost.com
The city is shelling out a fortune to house hundreds of homeless people in pricey Financial District hotels — but they hate living in the red-hot Manhattan neighborhood.
The free housing bestowed on scores of down-on-their-luck families is negated by the sky-high cost of food and other services in the trendy area, homeless hotel residents griped to The Post.
A homeless man who’s living with his wife in the DoubleTree by Hilton at 8 Stone St. said it was “disturbing the city would put us in a neighborhood like this, one of the richest neighborhoods in New York.”
“We are trying to be in the shelter to save up money, not spend. The sandwiches are $17, I can’t afford that,” said the man, 67, who did not want to be identified. “We live out of Burger King and eat the cheapest thing.”
Homeless mom Leeyen Riggon, who is eight-months pregnant, said she and her two daughters, ages 2 and 6, have spent the past three months crammed into a room at the Holiday Inn Express at 126 Water St. She also showed The Post a photo of a bedbug on the linen Friday.
“My room is one bed, no microwave, no refrigerator, and I am sleeping on the bed with my two kids,” said Riggon, 25. “It’s just terrible being here. I don’t get treated like a human; I am treated like I’m in jail.”
The city wouldn’t say exactly how much it’s spending to house homeless people near the New York Stock Exchange, but the three hotels being used typically charge as much as $429 a night.
Regular paying guests weren’t happy to learn that their hotels are doubling as homeless shelters.
“I wish I would have known ahead of time . . . It kind of grosses me out,” said Stacy P., a business traveler from Milwaukee, as she checked out of the DoubleTree.
A married couple living near the Holiday Inn on Nassau Street blasted the arrangement as a “Band-Aid on the problem” of homelessness, and fretted it would drive down their quality of life.
“It’s not a good solution,” said the wife, 30, who didn’t want to be identified. “One homeless person can say, ‘Hey, this hotel is down here, now more homeless people can come down to the area.’ ”
The de Blasio administration said it’s renting 180 rooms to house 336 people because there are no homeless shelters in the area, where 450-plus people in the shelter system formerly lived.
Homeless people now fill more than one third of both Holiday Inn hotels, which the city began using last August, and 25 percent of the DoubleTree, which was added in February.
In April, The Post revealed that the city has used 30 Manhattan hotels to house homeless people, and Comptroller Scott Stringer has said taxpayers spent $73 million on hotel rooms during the 12 months ending Oct. 31, 2016 — including $629 a night for some rooms in Times Square.
Asked what the Financial District lodging is costing taxpayers, officials provided only an average of $222 per hotel room, including social services.
Even that rate — which works out to $6,660 a month — dwarfs the cost of nearby studio apartments currently on the market for $2,195 to $3,795 a month.
Officials are planning to replace the hotels with a new homeless shelter, according to the city Human Resources Administration.
HRA rep Arianna Fishman said. “We anticipate identifying new shelter space within this community for at least 450 individuals.”
Neither the owners of the hotels nor their corporate parents returned requests for comment.