De Blasio moves homeless men into boutique hotel rooms


Dozens of homeless men were moved into a Downtown Brooklyn boutique hotel Friday — just days after Mayor Bill de Blasio said he’s looking to end the city’s emergency coronavirus shelter program.

During four different times Friday afternoon, The Post observed four yellow buses drop off more than 40 vagrants with their belongings in trash bags at the Hotel Indigo on Duffield Street, where a sign on the front door read that it “cannot accommodate reservations” for guests and redirected those with reservations to a nearby Sheraton hotel.

An NYPD cop on site confirmed to The Post that there were no homeless residents living at the hotel between Fulton and Willoughby streets and city sources said it is being converted into a men’s shelter.

A worker from the Bowery Residents Committee, a nonprofit that assists the homeless, was seen moving boxes with computers and other supplies into the lodging, while another was spotted hauling in materials to set up metal detectors.

Locals griped over the new development, especially after they say another hotel, Aloft — located just steps away from Hotel Indigo — opened as a temporary city homeless shelter three weeks ago.

Homeless people are seen moving into Hotel Indigo Hotel today.
Homeless people are seen moving into Hotel Indigo in Brooklyn today.Paul Martinka

“I’m no one to say where these people have to go. The only problem I have is that they’re very dirty,” said Belen Lopez, 34, a graphic designer who lives in a nearby luxury building.

“I used to take my [2-year-old] daughter to the park here … now it’s dirty. They drink and they smoke. You can always smell the smoke every time I come out,” said Lopez.

Belen Lopez and her daughter Sofia Brooklyn homeless
Belen Lopez and her daughter SofiaPaul Martinka

The mom called the area, where residential rents hover between $4,000-$5,000 for a two-bedroom, “a disaster,” and explained, “We can’t go there anymore.”

“There is alcohol. There are little bottles of booze on the grass,” she said, adding that she’s “concerned” about the wellbeing of her daughter.

“We don’t feel safe anymore,” said Lopez.

Angel Serate, 42, who lives directly across the street from Hotel Indigo, said he felt helpless about the situation.

“There is nothing I can do. It’s what the city wants. I just hope that everybody will be respectful and keep the peace,” said Serate, who claimed that the homeless tenants already residing on the block “make garbage” and loiter.

A resident at the nearby upscale Avalon Willoughby Square building said the area has “become a little bit more run down” since the homeless were moved in.

“It’s a tough situation, but the concentration [of homeless people] seems to be skyrocketing,” said the 33-year-old man. “We’ve had three to four shootings in the last few weeks. A lot more people are huddling around at night.”

Another local railed, “It’s terrible. There is trash all over the place.”

“This used to be a beautiful block — now it’s completely changed. It’s quite disturbing,” the neighbor said.

De Blasio told reporters Monday that the vastly improved virus situation in the Big Apple has opened the door to winding down the city’s emergency COVID-19 shelter program in hotels.

“Hotels is certainly not where we want to be in general and we’re going to start that process immediately,” Hizzoner said.

The Department of Homeless Services said Friday that the “total number of hotel locations is not increasing,” and declined to confirm that it was using Hotel Indigo as a temporary homeless shelter.

“The safety and health of our clients is always our first priority. As the city continues to reopen, we’re watching our health indicators closely and working with [the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene] to determine when and how clients can be safely relocated back to shelters from the temporary emergency hotel relocation sites,” said DHS spokeswoman Arianna Fishman.



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