Seeing few alternatives, the city of New York has put up some homeless people temporarily in hotels…right in Times Square.

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Imagine how wonderful it must be for those children (and of course the parents too) to have a quiet, safe, clean, and warm place to stay, after no doubt having been exposed to too much harsh reality in their short lives. I don’t know if you saw the inspiring movie – The Pursuit of Happyness with Will Smith, but I have no doubt that having a hotel for a few nights and the semblance of normalcy can make an enormous difference.

According to the NY Daily News, the city Department of Homeless Services has increasingly had to turn to hotels to house the homeless, most recently in excess of 800 rooms at over $400 a night and 30 at $629 a night at hotels near Times Square. Even a suite at the classy Waldorf Astoria is under $400 a night.

Lobby at the Waldorf Astoria

Lobby at the Waldorf Astoria

While the $629 was overly inflated because of a UN General Assembly in session that ratcheted up the typical $319 a night rate, the hotel the families are in is clearly a very good place for people to stay.

It is sad to read that there are so few alternatives to housing the homelessness, but part of me is secretly (ok, not so secretly now) glad for the fancy accommodations if only for a few days. I know that the hotels are being paid for in part by taxpayers and a few nights at a hotel doesn’t make everything better, but people who are down on their luck and have been lacking the comfortable accommodations that many of us take for granted are being given a moment of respite.

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As of Monday night, over 60,000 people (including 23,000 children) were in temporary apartments, shelters, and hotels, courtesy of Homeless Services. The price tag to house New York’s homeless in hotels? $400,000 per night, citywide.

The city acknowledges that hotels for the homeless is not an ideal resolution to an ongoing problem, but has taken heat before by putting families in less-than-ideal living apartments. City-run shelters are overflowing and apartments have been in short supply. The city says that for short-term stays hotels are sometimes the only option until receiving city-wide acceptance for more shelters.