In a staggering use of taxpayer funds, New York City is poised to spend over a billion dollars turning hotels into migrant shelters. Of the 193 shelters accommodating 65,300 individuals, nearly 80% are hotels, motels, or inns. This revelation, based on an internal document obtained by The Post, highlights the significant financial burden placed on the city’s taxpayers.

The city spends an average of $160 per hotel room to house migrants, with some operators reportedly earning over $300 a night per room since migrants began arriving from the southern border in spring 2022. The taxpayer cost for daily migrant sheltering is a staggering $352 per household, according to city officials.

By May 31, an estimated $4.88 billion had been spent on the migrant crisis, with $1.98 billion going toward housing, which includes both hotels and other shelters such as tent cities at Floyd Bennett Field and Randall’s Island. Among the most eye-popping contracts is a $5.13 million-a-month deal between the 1,331-room Row NYC hotel in Midtown Manhattan and the city’s Health + Hospitals agency. The Crowne Plaza JFK in Queens secured a $2 million-a-month deal for its 335 rooms.

Local business owners are feeling the pinch. William Shandler, a manager at Iron Bar located near the Row hotel, expressed frustration: “Our taxes are being used to pay for the migrants, and where are we supposed to make revenue? How as a business could we function?”

Hotels have removed more than 16,000 rooms from the market to accommodate migrants, according to a November report by CoStar. Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R-Queens) voiced her concerns, stating that hotels were intended to boost tourism and the economy, not serve as shelters. “These locations were meant to boost the economy of this city, but instead they’ve become a net drain and are costing us enormously,” she added.

The influx of city cash has temporarily propped up the hotel industry, which added 21,000 new rooms in the four years prior to the pandemic, according to the city’s Department of Planning. When tourism plummeted during the pandemic, then-Mayor Bill de Blasio offered a financial lifeline by contracting hotels to house the city’s homeless. Mayor Eric Adams has continued this trend.

In September, The Post reported that the city extended a contract with the Hotel Association of New York City (HANYC) for three years at a stunning $1.3 billion—nearly five times the original amount of $275 million—just for rental fees for housing migrants. This deal can be cut short if the city no longer needs the space.

In January, the city inked a $76.69 million emergency contract with HANYC to provide “last resort” shelter for migrant families at 15 hotels in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx through July. Vijay Dandapani, president and CEO of HANYC, insisted that they are working with the city to keep costs low and are proud of their role in aiding the city’s mission to care for asylum seekers.

However, Ken Girardin, research director at the watchdog Empire Center for Public Policy, warned of the financial impact on taxpayers. “The migrant crisis is a gash on state and local finances, and housing is where taxpayers are bleeding most,” he said.

As New York City continues to pour billions into housing migrants, the financial strain on taxpayers and the negative impact on local businesses remain a significant concern. The city’s decision to prioritize sheltering migrants in hotels over other potential solutions is raising questions about the long-term sustainability and economic repercussions of such policies.