As owning my own hostel is something I would like to do one day, I get regular updates on my facebook page from a hostel management site. This discussion in the forums has interested me not just because of my general hostel interest, but also because going to New York is also on my list and when I go I'll be looking for cheap accommodation.
It seems that lots of hostels have recently been raided and shut down because of changes in a local law about the number of transient people allowed to stay at any one time in an apartment building. This could be due to pressure from the big hotels wanting everyone to stay with them, so they're trying to squeeze the small guys out of business. If this is the case, then I don't see how they think it will work. People with a budget of $20 a night are not suddenly going to be able to stump up $200 a night. Instead they'll just stay away. When these hostels were suddenly shut down travellers staying in them found themselves having to sleep rough. So if the law and the raids are because hostels are deemed 'unsafe', then how can sleeping rough in New York City be seen as a safer option? It all seems very short-sighted and bullyboyish to me. If they went after the truly unsafe hostels then fair enough, but that really doesn't seem to have been the case.
My sympathies go out to the travellers and tourists who have found themselves homeless and the hostel owners and employees who have found themselves businessless and jobless.
The YHA seems to be unaffected by this. Maybe they have dedicated buildings for their hostels and so are exempt? Or is it because they're a bigger business they don't get trampled on so easily?