Coalition for the Homeless Statement on Subway Closure Announcement

City and State Have Failed to Protect Homeless New Yorkers During COVID-19 Crisis

NEW YORK, NY – The following statement by Coalition for the Homeless is in response to an announcement by Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo today on their plan to close the subway nightly from 1:00AM to 5:00AM to remove homeless New Yorkers who are using the subway as refuge.

“Homeless New Yorkers are sleeping on the subway because the City and State – nearly two months into this crisis – are steadfastly refusing to offer them somewhere better to go. Many homeless New Yorkers are rightfully afraid of crowded congregate shelters, where coronavirus continues to spread and where the COVID-19 mortality rate is 50 percent higher than the NYC overall population. Punitively closing the subways and sending in more police will only make things worse. What is actually needed are safe, private spaces where maintaining social distancing is possible. The City can and must open up thousands of empty hotel rooms and offer every single person on the subway access to them. Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio’s misguided policing strategy will continue to push people further into the shadows and flouts public health guidance,” said Giselle Routhier, Policy Director at Coalition for the Homeless.