‘The money is there’: Manhattan borough president shares plan to tackle crime, homelessness

Manhattan

MANHATTAN — The drug epidemic coupled with the ongoing homeless problem in New York City is leading to a public health crisis that requires immediate attention.

The pandemic prompted a rise in attacks in Midtown, an increase in the homeless population across the city, violence in Washington Square Park, which led to a curfew over the summer, and the open-air drug market issues in Harlem.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer has said enough is enough.

She said she has requested some money from the $150 million settlement Attorney General Letitia James received from an opioid settlement. 

Brewer has a three-pronged approach to use the money, which includes inter-agency coordination, social services funding and assessment teams.

How long would it take for the approach to take effect? Brewers said it “should be immediate because the money is there.”

There are also models, such as the Times Square Alliance, approaches for sanitation, and power washing, that they could look at, according to Brewer.

She also said she wants to make sure there are well-trained police at the precincts and officers who go out should go with mental health counselors.

“The resources are there, but they have to get the kind of inter-agency coordination,” Brewer said, “and they need the funding.”

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