Demonstrators gathered outside City Hall in Manhattan on Thursday, July 29, to protest the planned ousting of homeless people from hotels where they have lived for over a year to group shelters that had high COVID mortality rates, advocates said.
Footage shared to Twitter by New York City Council candidate Marni Halasa shows demonstrators in Lower Manhattan on Thursday morning calling attention to the city’s plan.
At the height of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, thousands of homeless New Yorkers were moved into hotels in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. More than a year later, in June 2021, the city began the process of moving them into shelters.
“It is time to move homeless folks who were in hotels for a temporary period of time back to shelters where they can get the support they need,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio during a press conference where he announced the relocation plan on June 16.
A study released in June 2020 by the Coalition for the Homeless, an advocacy group, found that New Yorkers living in homeless shelters were dying from COVID-19 at a higher rate than the rest of the city.
A judge temporarily blocked De Blasio’s plan for transfers earlier this month, ruling that the city had not considered the health risk to the homeless people.
Protesters challenging the mayor’s plan are seen in this footage sitting in the road in front of City Hall. Credit: Marni Halasa via Storyful