Photo credit: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday released a plan to get 3,600 homeless New Yorkers off city streets within five years. The six-point initiative adds new “safe haven” beds, creates 1,000 permanent units of housing, provides new health resources, and ramps up the city’s outreach response. Named The Journey Home, the $100 million plan comes as the number of those experiencing homelessness in the city has reached the highest levels in nearly 100 years, with more than 60,000 people currently living in homeless shelters.
Photo by Zachary Shakked on Unsplash
“Mass surveillance” or massive outreach effort? The verdict seems to still be out on Mayor de Blasio’s new initiative to help solve the homelessness crisis in New York City. In a press release today announcing the new Outreach NYC program, the city says it will “mobilize thousands of frontline City Agency staff to request outreach assistance via 311 when they observe individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness” as a way to help them into shelters. To be exact, the total number of city employees who will receive this training is 18,000. But the Coalition for the Homeless feels that the plan merely implements “mass surveillance of homeless New Yorkers” without making investments in solutions.
Photo by arvind grover on Flickr
The city’s police department has launched a new surveillance system to keep an eye on homeless New Yorkers at more than 10 subway stations, THE CITY reported on Thursday. NYPD officers will watch feeds from more than 100 live cameras that show views from stations and platforms in order to respond to “quality-of-life and public safety concerns,” the city announced in August. The monitoring program comes as part of a city and state effort to address homelessness in the subways.
Photo via Wikimedia
According to a new report titled “State of the Homeless 2019” by the Coalition for the Homeless, the number of New Yorkers sleeping in shelters each night is large enough to count as the state’s ninth-largest city: Close to 64,000 people took refuge in shelters each night according to the report–a record high figure that fell only slightly in February. The report takes both Mayor Bill De Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to task on the issue, AM New York reports, and advises that the city build at least 24,000 subsidized affordable units and set aside 6,000 units for homeless households as quickly as possible to keep the numbers from growing.
More from the report
Image via New York Cares
While giving thanks and exchanging gifts this holiday season, share the wealth and give a little extra to fellow New Yorkers in need. From coats and turkeys to MetroCards and toys, the list below is a good place to start. Yes, financial donations are always welcome–but there are plenty of much-needed, much-appreciated items you can give that don’t require spending an extra penny.
Sometimes it really is better to give
Earlier this year, Mayor de Blasio was criticized for failing to open 10 of the 20 homeless shelters his administration pledged for 2017, with “delays in the permit process, time-consuming negotiations with nonprofits that run the shelters, and backlash from the community and public officials” to blame. The push came from the fact that NYC has the largest homeless population in the U.S., climbing near 78,000. All of this coupled together, the situation is now looking even more dire, as the Coalition for the Homeless‘ annual State of the Homeless Report finds that a record high number of New Yorkers make up the city’s nightly homeless shelter population. This number, 63,495 (which includes 23,600 children), would make that group the 10th largest city in the state, notes the Daily News.