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.)