Housing Homeless In Hotels Really Did Reduce The Spread Of Covid-19

Housing the homeless in hotels is hardly new. At New York JFK airport hotels it’s even largely expected. During the pandemic the practice accelerated. There were plenty of empty rooms. States like California, New York, and others turned to hotels to house the homeless.

One Texas company made millions booking COVID hotel rooms for New York City. New York apparently didn’t realize that hotels usually cover booking commissions, and that they could have just used Hotels.com. (And if they’d done so they’d have realized they were overpaying for the rooms).

[T]he city has placed hundreds of vulnerable homeless shelter residents, frontline hospital workers and recently released Rikers Island inmates into hotel rooms to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

And every time one of these temporary guests check in, a company down in Texas pockets a $27 per room, per night fee.

The firm, Crewfacilities.com LLC, also bills the city $18 for every breakfast, $19 for every lunch and $34 for every dinner provided to the guests, according to records obtained by THE CITY.

It turns out that on the whole outdoor activity is much safer from Covid-19 than indoor activity. And over the past two years and successive trillion-plus dollar government spending packages we’ve done little to improve ventilation in buildings.

When homeless are outside they’re usually not spreading the virus, but in homeless shelters it’s much more likely. A study now shows that the practice of moving homeless from shelters to hotel rooms cut down on virus spread.

People experiencing homelessness (PEH) in Chicago were 2.5 times less likely to have a COVID-19 infection if they were housed in individual hotel rooms along with medical and social support than if they stayed in a city shelter, according to an observational study yesterday in JAMA Network Open.

This makes perfect sense.  Indoor poorly ventilated spaces are rife for virus spread, while the amount of spread through ventilation systems has been relatively minimal.

Since fewer cases in vulnerable populations also means fewer hospital visits, there’s offsetting cost savings even to consider when evaluating the programs.

(HT: Paul H.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @ Gary — Nice to hear of government money helping the poorest amongst us instead of lining the pockets of the wealthiest.

  2. The problem is they are still doing it. Do not book a Marriott Residence Inn or similar in California without first verifying it’s not part of Project Roomkey.

  3. Leftist propaganda on this website is nothing new. If you are comfortable paying for it, please send your earnings to them instead of talking about how great it is to waste tax dollars.

  4. @ Zee Man

    Ah, yes, noted leftist propagandist Gary Leff, co-author of “The Case against Bailing Out the Airline Industry”.

    View from the DSA Wing, amirite?

  5. I wish there was a list so I could avoid these places. last thing I want to do is sleep in the same bed as a homeless person.

  6. @Gene,

    So you approve of the further poorly executed wasteful government spending lining the pocket of corporations cited in this article? Newsflash…. Read the article, Nick was not claiming Covid was over, he was warning would be travelers that those occupants in the room next door might be a recipient of these ongoing programs. Stop with your endless snark rooted in the talking points of your favorite cable news source!

  7. Those saying this this leftist should have noticed this work was conducted by a Christian conservative healthcare organization….

  8. @Drdrew: they live on alternative facts, please leave them be as they enjoy that place in their brain much better than reality.

    Anyway, before I was sidetracked by the lunacy, @kdogger, you can check TripAdvisor. While I am not a huge fan of theirs for reasons not worth going into, I do use them on hotels still looking at some comments regarding areas I am not familiar. When traveling to SoCal, I used to stay at some of the properties (Hilton family) around OC area. I went to book some based on price and points once, had them booked, and for some reason decided to check out TripAdvisor for some recent comments. The hotels had done a 180. They had all leased out to the homeless program. I had to find hotels elsewhere as comments appeared about heroin use in public, trash littered throughout the halls, elevator rides from hell, cars broken into, etc.

  9. @ Dillydalboi — And what is so horrible about the person in the room next door being homeless? At least they aren’t heartless.

  10. @Gene

    Some normal well meaning and compassionate people yes might indeed have issues with that IF the activities and behaviors of those unfortunate people negatively impact a paying customers’ experience. To suggest otherwise is again ignoring reality, common sense and yet again delves into narrative. Guess that is your realm as Dilly suggests! Don’t let all that outrage and virtue signaling blind you.

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