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'Bushwick Inspired' Boutique Hotel Now Being Used as Homeless Shelter

By Gwynne Hogan | May 19, 2016 11:21am
 BKLYN House at 9 Beaver St. opened in December. The city is using it to house around 70 homeless men.
BKLYN House at 9 Beaver St. opened in December. The city is using it to house around 70 homeless men.
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BKYLN House/Facebook

BUSHWICK — A posh new boutique hotel that opened less than six months ago is now being used as a homeless shelter, according to officials.

BKLYN House, located at 9 Beaver St., opened in December but the city has been renting out hotel rooms to use for the homeless since Nov. 23, using 44 out of 113 rooms, officials at the Department of Homeless Services confirmed.

Lincoln Restler, a policy advisor to Mayor Bill de Blasio, confirmed that the Department of Homeless Services is using the hotel as a shelter when it came up at a community board meeting Wednesday.

"We've experienced a significant growth in homelessness," Restler said. "We have rented out some...hotel rooms to temporarily provide a place for homeless individuals to live. This is not...permanent but on a temporary basis."

"We're going to work to get people out of that hotel and into real shelters," he added.

There are more than 60,000 homeless New Yorkers, according to estimates from Coalition for the Homeless.

The mayor promised in February to end the practice of using hotels to house the homeless after the murders of 26-year-old Rebecca Cutler and her two daughters in a hotel shelter in Staten Island. De Blasio also pledged to beef up security at hotel shelters immediately and to phase out the use of hotels as homeless shelters.

“Stop using hotels, that is our goal,” de Blasio said. “But there will be moments when because there’s a particular need we may have to turn to hotels, but the goal is to use hotels less and less and eventually stop using hotels all together.”

In the administration's 90-day review of Homeless Agencies and Programs released in April, the report said that since the beginning of the administration the mayor has been "committed to ending the cluster and commercial hotel programs" and once again vowed to phasing out the use of hotels, though no specific timeline was set up. 

"The City will prioritize ending reliance on renting blocks of rooms in commercial hotels as shelter," the report reads.

News that BKLYN House was being used as a shelter surprised Bushwick community board members who said they hadn't heard about it, as well as representatives from City Councilman Antonio Reynoso's office.

Davila heard about the shelter when she was on a recent visit to the area.

“We need more transparency from the mayor’s office,” said Davila, who added she'd since confronted the administration who told her they had been renting out around 70 beds. “We want to make everybody comfortable, but we need transparency.”

Billing itself as "Bushwick inspired," the boutique hotel had commissioned 11 street artists to paint murals in different parts of the facility, each inspired by a different Brooklyn neighborhood, Bushwick Daily reported.

The hotel's developer Moris Yeroshalmy hired branding consultant Tara Mastrelli of Studio Tano to design the concept for the 116-room hotel, DNAinfo New York previously reported.

Rooms can run you between $200 and $500 a night, according to the hotel's website.

Managers at the BKLYN Hotel did not immediately return a request for comment.