City Hall released Tuesday the results from the first six weeks of Mayor Eric Adams’ effort to combat homelessness through outreach teams, service providers, and encampment removals.
According to a City Hall spokesperson, the new data findings are a product of visitations from DHS, DSNY, and the NYPD—and when needed the Parks Department—to above-ground homeless encampments throughout the five boroughs from March 8 to May 1. The city also states that the released statistics are preliminary since the aforementioned agencies continue to recanvass known encampments while also identifying new spaces.
The task teams made 733 location visits—this number includes repeat and recanvass visits. Location are also recanvassed by task teams within 48-72 hours. According to City Hall, of the 733 visits, 710 resulted in clean sites while 264 people were engaged by outreach providers. However, as of May 1, only 39 have accepted placement through offered services.
These encampment “sweeps” have been highly contentious resulting in praise from some New Yorkers thanks to cleaner streets while receiving harsh rebuke from others who believe the vulnerable are being made even more vulnerable. Many of these sweeps first start with a task team canvassing an area, engaging homeless individuals present, and then placing a notice—sometimes as short as 24 hours—that the area will be cleaned by DSNY and all belongings should be removed in accordance with the Sanitation Code’s clean public space.
“I have said since we started this initiative that every New Yorker deserves dignity, and we are demonstrating that this is possible. Our teams are working professionally and diligently every day to make sure that every New Yorker living on the street knows they have a better option while ensuring that everyone who lives in or visits our city can enjoy the clean public spaces we all deserve,” Mayor Adams said in a statement.
The mayor’s office reports that this endeavor has been a team effort to engage with unhoused individuals on a continuous basis to build trust and encourage them to accept services. However, critics feel that the undomiciled are being forced to accept shelter services that make them feel unsafe and fearful. Currently, there are 63 locations task teams are working with.
In the report, the city boasts that Mayor Adams’ initiative yielded results in six weeks of its implementation, achieving 150% of the number of placements more than last year (from March 18, 2021, to March 18, 2022, 26 clients accepted placement during encampment cleanings.)