|...but probably not this one|
City officials are looking to capitalize on a distressed tourism industry by converting commercial hotels into affordable housing — including creating single room occupancy units known as SROs.
The exploration of cheaper alternatives for affordable housing and supportive housing — offering health care and social services for people with mental illness or substance abuse disorders — comes as the city struggles to overcome a fiscal crisis prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The effort, which also comes as thousands of homeless people are staying in hotels, highlights just how hard a near-halt in business travel and tourism is slamming New York City.
“Unfortunately, we’re seeing a tremendous hit to our hotels because of the reduction in tourism, because of the lack of travel — and hopefully most of that will come back. But some of it may not,” Vicki Been, deputy mayor for housing and economic development, said this week during an online roundtable on economic development hosted by the Real Estate Board of New York and the law firm Greenberg Traurig.
|...and probably (and definitely) not this one either|
“So we’ve been looking hard at — are there hotels that we could acquire to turn into supportive housing rather than having to build from ground up?” she added. “We’re looking both at, are there assets that we own that we can make available to affordable housing or other needs — and are there private market buildings that we could acquire to convert into affordable housing at a cheaper cost.”
Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Louise Carroll, who also participated in the event, said hotels are also under consideration for a shared housing model — which includes SRO-like units that have common areas for residents.
The agency has been testing shared and co-living spaces as affordable housing since 2018.
“Maybe hotels are good for rehab in that way,” Carroll said of SROs.