The Verve Hotel doesn’t stick out. The tan, six-floor building in the Dutch Kills neighborhood of Queens is typical of the quiet industrial area, surrounded as it is by bodyshops, single-family homes, a rumbling elevated train, and hotels of a modernist sensibility, all glass exteriors and clean-cut balconies. During the school year, a handball court attracts teenagers as they head home from class just down the road.
The only way you might realize the Verve is a converted home for New York City’s homeless population is if you spotted the metal detector in the lobby.
Mayor de Blasio has sent out dozens of city workers to search for the homeless on the streets, in an effort to combat the problem — and fend off the criticism he faced last summer.
At a cost of $2.6 million, the city has hired 52 canvassers who walk every block between Canal and 145th Street every day, looking for people who appear to be homeless. The program, which became fully operational in April, is called Home-Stat.
“There has never been anything like Home-Stat previously, in this city or in any other major city in the country,” de Blasio said.
The board that sets rents for more than one million rent-stabilized apartments in New York City voted on Monday to freeze rents for one-year leases for the second year in a row.
By a vote of 7 to 0, with two abstentions, the New York City Rent Guidelines Board also decided to raise rents by 2 percent for two-year leases, a modest rise that mirrors last year’s. The vote, which came during a typically emotional board meeting, was in keeping with the historically low rent increases that the board had previously approved during the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat who appointed the full board.