Coalition for the Homeless Statement In Response to Mayor de Blasio’s Plan to End Street Homelessness
Action Plan to Increase Housing, Safe Haven Beds, and Health Resources While Continuing Controversial NYPD Surveillance Program
NEW YORK, NY – The following statement from the Coalition for the Homeless is in response to the City’s announcement today of an action plan to end long-term street homelessness in New York City over the next five years.
“We are pleased to see Mayor de Blasio moving toward providing the resources that homeless individuals on the streets actually need: permanent housing and low-threshold shelters. This investment is a critical step toward helping people find safe and permanent housing. The increased reliance on the NYPD to conduct outreach, however, is counterproductive and misguided. The practice of issuing summonses, surveilling homeless individuals, and coercing people to leave the subways with threats of arrest are inhumane and a misuse of police officers’ time. We urge the Mayor to shift the focus of engagement from NYPD officers to trained social services professionals in all interactions with homeless individuals, and to further build upon these initial investments in housing and safe havens. If we can overcome the rising mistrust that is an inevitable byproduct of NYPD’s increasing contact with homeless people, we should begin to see real progress in reducing the tragedy of street homelessness with these new housing resources,” said Giselle Routhier, Policy Director at Coalition for the Homeless.