Monday, December 9, 2019

Hotel owners are profiting off of the homeless crisis

NY Daily News

Owners of dozens of recently-built homeless hotels are saving millions of dollars on city taxes through an obscure rebate program that allowed them to hold on to $12.5 million in the 2018-2019 tax cycle.

Of the owners benefiting from the tax break — known as the Industrial and Commercial Abatement Program — the biggest winners include Sam Chang, Harshad Patel and Riverbrook Equities, according to a New York Hotel Trades Council analysis obtained and vetted by the Daily News.
Chang, for example, has built 49 hotels since 2006.

Of those, 14 have housed the homeless. Five have received ICAP rebates and saved approximately $2.3 million on their 2018-2019 tax bills, city records show.

Chang, who still retains ownership in one of the hotels, the Holiday Inn JFK, saved $791,323 in taxes for that property during the last tax cycle.

In all, 44 homeless hotels appear to have received both the ICAP rebate and homeless subsidies within the past four years, city records show. There are a total of 151 hotels that get ICAP rebates. From 2015 to 2019, homeless hotels that got the rebates saved more than $30 million.

All the while, owners like Chang and other operators who get the tax rebates are getting paid by the city to house the homeless. That money is routed to the hotels through homeless service “management companies,” which get the money directly from the city.

A spokeswoman for Chang’s McSam Hotel Group said the company has done nothing wrong.

“McSam Hotel Group complies with New York City laws, rules and regulations in building hotels. We never build hotels with the intent of housing homeless persons," spokeswoman Lisa Linden said. 

"McSam Hotel Group makes no decisions regarding whether homeless persons are housed in hotels. The management companies make those decisions.”

Harshad Patel said the rebate fulfills its mission of creating jobs and that critics are ignoring the big picture.

“It’s the only reason we are building,” he said. "We have a lot of expenses.”

The city projects it will spend $2.1 billion overall on tackling the homelessness crisis in 2020. In 2018, $384 million went from city coffers to housing homeless people in hotels. Less clear is how much of the city’s homeless budget is going specifically to hotels that already receive the ICAP rebate.

Whatever the cost, affordable housing advocates believe it’s a waste of taxpayer money.

“What the city needs to do is build housing to house the homeless,” said Cea Weaver, Housing Justice for All’s campaign coordinator. “It’s a better use of our resources. It’s better than paying hotel owners twice.”


Anonymous said...

Not shocking to here this but it proves our elected leaders are not interested in really helping solve this homeless crisis.

Anonymous said...

There is a simple solution to this.stop prioritizing the homeless for permanent housing.half of these homeless people are just trying to skip the line which is 7-9 years on a list or 8 months if you declare yourself homeless.its one big scam and now homelessness is a big money business with many vested interests in keeping it that way.

Anonymous said...

So are LLC management companies

Anonymous said...

Homelessness will not be solved because there is no will to solve.

Since the next mayor will be a homosexual (either Johnson or Sutton) you can expect the homeless problem to get even worse because more funds will be siphoned off for pet gay causes.

Harry Bingham IV

Anonymous said...

The scariest thing about our age of modernity, and its seemingly infinite lunacy, is how seamlessly the Chinese have inserted themselves into finance capitalism (late-stage capitalism, etc.). They play the game frighteningly well. Their ability to syphon money from the state and profit from the misery of others has historically been the exclusive domain of another (((ethnic group))).

Anonymous said...

If Hotel Owners are profiting, so is your Councilmember. Follow the money.

Anonymous said...

What is 2.1 Billions between friends? Specially Dumbasio's friends.

Anonymous said...

"If Hotel Owners are profiting, so is your Councilmember. Follow the money."

Ever notice the things in their campaign literature that gets them breathless? It is absolute BS. It is never things like over-development (unless their backers are cut out of a deal) or stuff like this.

This is where the civics and media in Queens fail us. Only here can their be real dialogue.

And it also explains how, on the national level, they have spent the last three years doing one thing - going after Trump. The could win in a walk on that issue if only they had spent time focusing on the real problems that concern us in the real world.

Anonymous said...

"Since the next mayor will be a homosexual (either Johnson or Sutton)"

Sutton?! Are you insane? she's the darkest of dark horses and will most likely drop out of the race, She cannot sustain an run for mayor...

Anonymous said...

"She cannot sustain an run for mayor...'

Why not?

Anonymous said...

"Sutton?! Are you insane? she's the darkest of dark horses and will most likely drop out of the race, She cannot sustain an run for mayor..."

I suppose you also thought that a 28 year old bartender couldn't unseat fat Joe Crowley. NEVER underestimate the stupidity of the NYC electorate, my friend. It is a fool's errand.

Harry Bingham IV

Anonymous said...

@Harry Bingham IV Well said !
Most of the NYC electorate are Meathead Lefties with Snowflake children who all do what they are told.

Anonymous said...

We need a website listing any hotels that house homeless.
Who would want to stay THERE?!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon wrote: "We need a website listing any hotels that house homeless."

Yes! A map. The city won't do it, because they don't want anyone to know. Just like DOJ won't list crime rates by race. Nothing goes against the utopian dream!

But yes, a map of all these places. Does anyone know where one can find a list?