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The Nation : Homeless Families Leave Squalid Hotel

Scrambling to meet its New Year’s Eve deadline, New York City moved the last of 448 homeless families from Manhattan’s squalid Martinique Hotel. Located near Macy’s department store, the turn-of-the-century hotel at Broadway and 32nd Street had become a national symbol of the problems faced by those too poor to afford housing. Faced with the threat of a federal funds cutoff and political pressure, Mayor Edward I. Koch’s Administration pledged to close one of its 42 welfare hotels by year’s end. Koch has pledged to empty all the welfare hotels by July, 1990. The Martinique, where the city paid $1,800 per family, was closed first because it was “emblematic” of the conditions in other welfare hotels, said John Beckman, a city Human Resources Administration spokesman. Some of the relocated families were taken to newly rehabilitated apartments. Others were transfered to other city-run facilities for the homeless. The Martinique became a welfare hotel 15 years ago and at its height housed about 500 adults and 1,500 children. It once featured a fashionable dancehall and popular nightclub.


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