May 30, 2023
NYPD officers help remove Hurricane Ida victims from Manhattan hotel after city runs out of federal aid: VIDEO

NYPD officers help remove Hurricane Ida victims from Manhattan hotel after city runs out of federal aid: VIDEO

New Yorkers displaced by Hurricane Ida were this past weekend kicked out of a downtown Manhattan hotel they’ve called home for months — and NYPD officers in tactical gear showed up to help with the removals, city officials and homeless advocates said Monday.

After Ida slammed into New York in August 2021, the city rented up hundreds of hotel rooms to shelter people whose homes were wrecked in the devastating storm.

NYPD officers in tactical gear enter the Millennium Hotel to evict Hurricane Ida victims.

As of last week, about 80 of those Ida victim households were still living at the Millennium Hotel near City Hall, according to the Legal Aid Society, a public defender group that represents the city’s homeless population.

However, over the weekend, some Ida victims were removed from their rooms at the Millennium after only being given “minimal notice” that they could no longer stay, Legal Aid said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development confirmed Monday afternoon that the city has been removing Ida victims from the hotel. All Ida victims will have to be out of the Millennium by Tuesday because an allocation from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that Mayor Adams’ administration used to bankroll their hotel rooms has run dry, the spokeswoman added.

As of Sunday, there were still about 50 Ida victims at the hotel, according to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Guests who have nowhere else to go are offered beds in city homeless shelters.

As part of the removals, two officers from the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit, which typically responds to violent protests and other chaotic situations, walked into the hotel on Saturday afternoon wielding what appeared to be an ax and a riot shield, video footage provided by Legal Aid shows. They were decked out in full tactical gear, including helmets, the footage shows.

In another video clip from the same day, a group of NYPD officers can be seen outside an Ida victim’s hotel room. One officer can then be heard telling the resident that police would tear down the door.

“Hey, the next step is going to be to take off the door, and we really, we want to just be able to talk to you,” the officer can be heard saying in the clip, which was filmed by the resident through the peephole in his door. “Just open the door, we just need you to open it. Everyone’s goal is to help right now. We are all here to help, and the easiest way to do that is if we can talk.”

The individual who shot that video ended up seeking shelter in the subway after being removed, said Josh Goldfein, a staff attorney with Legal Aid’s Homeless Rights Project.

“He was terrified and is now sleeping on trains,” Goldfein told the Daily News.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development spokeswoman said no Ida victim at the hotel “was transported to a subway.“ NYPD officers were called to the hotel on Saturday for the removals “to ensure the safety of everyone involved,” the spokeswoman added.

Millennium Hotel New York

The Emergency Services Unit officers did not end up participating in the removal because the guest in question opened the door before it became necessary to break it, the spokeswoman said.

“No hotel is a sustainable long-term housing option for the city or the people staying there — they lack kitchens, sufficient space, and permanency — on top of unsustainable hotel room costs that hurt all New Yorkers and burden taxpayers,” Ilana Maier, an assistant commissioner at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, said in a statement.

Video taken through a peep hole shows NYPD officers evicting Hurricane Ida victims from the Millennium hotel.

Legal Aid condemned the removals and said using NYPD officers to carry them out is “traumatizing these New Yorkers even further who’ve already lost so much from the storm.”

“Instead of forcing these residents onto the street, the city must immediately work to provide them housing, and in the interim, extend these hotel rooms until everyone is placed and all individual needs are accommodated for,” the group’s statement said.

Goldfein added: “It’s been a long-standing practice that the NYPD does not get involved in evictions.”

In total, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development said the city has provided hotel rooms for some 380 families who were displaced by Ida.

Some 310 of those families have since found permanent housing, the department said.

Those who remained at the Millennium as of this weekend had been offered “multiple permanent, affordable housing options over the past few months — each were declined for reasons most New Yorkers would find frustrating, like being in the back of a building or lacking enough natural light — as taxpayers continued to foot the bill for luxury hotel rooms,” Maier said.

Ida, which barreled into New York on Sept. 1, 2021, was responsible for the deaths of 13 people in the city. All but two of those victims drowned in their basement apartments due to flash floods caused by the storm.

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