NEW YORK — Recent data shows NYC is relying on commercial hotels to house homeless families despite Mayor Bill de Blasio's goal to end the practice set nearly a year ago.
Robert, a homeless father to a boy, 4, has been calling the Par Central Motor Inn in Queens his home for nearly a year.
"They haven't made any progress. I'm still here. They are still not helping," Robert told PIX11 News.
PIX11 News first spoke to the working father's situation last spring while investigating NYC renting out rooms in 4-hour blocks. Months later, he's still living in a hotel room — a testament to how the reliance of homeless hotels by the Department of the Homeless Services is stronger than ever.
The continued widespread practices is a direct contradiction to a goal Mayor Bill de Blasio set last February.
According the Mayor's Office of Operations recently released Shelter Scorecard for the month of October, the city is now relying on 81 commercial hotels to house homeless families. The families are housed right beside the general public who is unaware of the city's growing practice.
While DHS failed to respond to our email inquiry as to whether or not Commissioner Steven Banks is still working on Mayor De Blasio's goal or if it has been abandoned, Robert did weigh in with the following reaction, "That's crazy."
As the homeless population continues to climb, even posting historic numbers like, 60,699 earlier this month, the impact of the crisis in the corporate sector is more prevalent than ever.
Thursday morning PIX 11 News cameras captured the NYPD escorting a homeless man out of a Starbucks in Midtown for sleeping inside the shop. A few yards away another man was sleeping on a stool.
While the first homeless man was surprised to get a visit by the NYPD, Robert was caught off-guard to see PIX 11's Mario Diaz in Queens Friday night, after first meeting him along with PIX11's Jay Dow inside his hotel last April.
Robert, who has housing vouchers, says he thought he would have been out by now, but those managing the crisis on the front lines are at times just as oblivious as the paying public who have no idea they are spending top dollar for what is technically a homeless shelter. The 25-year-old shared one story where another homeless resident in the hotel asked the case worker for help and Robert says the case worker told the person, "to call the hotline."
Robert said the changes in staffing that he and his family have been forced to endure has been constant. When asked how many case workers he has had in the past year, Robert quickly respond, "Like 4."
He has spent nearly 11 months living in a hotel room — nearly one year without a kitchen nor hot plates.
While Thanksgiving is a traditional day of Turkey, DHS, according to Robert kept to their own traditional meals, "provided the regular food that they provide us every day."
So Robert ended up staying in his hotel room with his 4-year-old son because, "I had to send my wife out to get some food."
"She went to Boston Market," Robert said.