NYC Homeless Services, NYPD increase outreach amid freezing temperatures

Outreach efforts will focus in midtown between 30th and 60th streets.

Days of bone-chilling temperatures have prompted the city to expand its homeless outreach efforts in midtown, officials announced Tuesday.

The city’s Department of Homeless Services and the NYPD will now conduct joint canvassing and outreach operations seven days a week instead of two, concentrating on the area between 30th and 60th streets.

Mayor Bill de Blasio also said the city will add another 250 Safe Haven beds over the next two years to help homeless people who are reluctant to enter the traditional shelter system.

“It can take dozens or more contacts to convince homeless New Yorkers to come off the streets and into permanent housing,” de Blasio said. “The addition of these new beds and the expansion of the joint DHS-NYPD operations in midtown will go a long way toward building the trust it takes to make these transitions happen.”

Temperatures have remained below freezing since Christmas Day and snow is expected to fall  Wednesday night and Thursday. The city has issued Code Blue weather emergency alerts every day since Dec. 23, which allows it to ramp up outreach efforts and offer different kinds of shelter to accommodate all homeless individuals.

People who see homeless individuals outside in the extreme weather are asked to call 311.

Since Dec. 23, teams working with the homeless on the streets and in the subways have made 94 placements to shelters, Safe Havens and stabilization/warm settings according to officials from Homeless Services.

Lisa L. Colangelo