NEW YORK – As New York City and the rest of the state continue to tackle the homeless crisis, Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams have announced a joint initiative to ensure public safety and aid to homeless residents.
The governor announced the state and city will be creating teams of trained professionals who will develop relationships and trust with the homeless to help them get shelter, and eventually, homes.
Each team will consist of eight to ten people, including medical professionals and social workers, who will help people with their needs.
“No New Yorker should ever have to experience life on the streets,” Gov. Hochul said during a joint briefing with Adams, calling homelessness a humanitarian crisis.
Among the strategies is reimagining deployment of NYPD into the city’s subway system.
The measures deploy officers to move through the entire subway system, particularly on subway cars. Officers will engage with riders and observe and document what they see to create timely, intelligence-driven responses, according to Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell
“We are going to utilize our police to do public safety and our mental health professionals to give people services that they need,” Adams said.
“We are going to sustain and ensure we don’t see a decline in ridership,” he added.
Police will inspect stations to determine if there are any public safety problems, according to the mayor.
Hundreds of additional NYPD officers from the Transit Bureau will also work with Patrol Service Bureau officers and other personnel to be present across the subway system, from both their street-side and underground positions.
If officers identify a homeless condition, they will contact outreach workers, so they can respond rather than have officers engage – unless there is criminal activity underway.
The Riders Alliance commented on the state and city’s efforts to address transit homelessness.
“New Yorkers live on our subway because of a shortage of housing and healthcare. The lasting solution to transit homelessness is also the humane one. At the end of each and every day, New Yorkers now living in public space need homes to call their own,” they said in a statement.