NEW YORK, NY – Crews clearing hundreds of homeless encampments on the streets of New York City have only convinced a few dozen people to move into a homeless shelter in six weeks of work, according to news reports. data.
According to data released by the mayor’s office on Tuesday, only 39 of the 264 homeless New Yorkers who offered help with encampment sweeps — just under 15% — accepted a place in a shelter between the search begins on March 18 and May 1.
The number, although touted as a success by the city, did not impress homeless advocates who have long called on the mayor to stop the sweeps, which they have deemed “cruel, unnecessary and ineffective”.
“These counterproductive sweeps have not solved homelessness under previous administrations, nor do they solve homelessness under this administration,” said the policy director of the Homeless Coalition. shelter, Jacquelyn Simone, at Patch Tuesday. “Mayor Adams should stop these sweeps immediately and instead invest in housing and single-occupancy shelter placements to help people move indoors.”
Advocates like Simone argue that clearing the encampment only further endangers homeless New Yorkers, who often have nowhere to go given fear of city shelters. Of 640 homeless New Yorkers who lost their lives last year, 489 of them resided in shelters, according to another organization against sweeps, VOCAL-NY.
Mayor Eric Adams has touted his controversial cleanup plan as a way to provide better housing for homeless New Yorkers, saying new pamphlets and repeat visits with homeless New Yorkers will increase the number of those who agree to move to a shelter.
His administration pointed to the new data as a slight increase since the sweeps began, when just five people accepted help in the first 12 days (down, 39 people accepting help in six weeks is about 11 people helped every 12 days).
In the year before Adams’ initiative began, 26 homeless New Yorkers accepted a place in a shelter during routine camp cleanups, his office said, though they weren’t did not immediately have data on the total number of people the teams spoke to during that year. comparison period.
“I’ve said since we launched this initiative that every New Yorker deserves dignity, and we’re demonstrating that it’s possible,” Adams said Tuesday. “Our teams work professionally and diligently every day to ensure that every New Yorker living on the streets knows they have a better option while ensuring that everyone who lives in or visits our city can enjoy clean public spaces. that we all deserve.”
In total, Adams’ teams cleared 710 encampments, some in locations they’ve visited more than once, according to his office.
Meanwhile, activists have begun blockading some of the wrecking crews’ makeshift homes amid growing protests over the sweeps.
The police sent to help demolish the encampments did not let the effort go lightly. During a seven-hour standoff in the East Village, six activists were arrested, along with protest leader John Grima, who refused to leave his tent, and the encampment was eventually torn down, according to reports. information.