Mayor announces new 311 initiative to combat homelessness in NYC

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Just in time for the holidays, Mayor de Blasio announced an expansion of citywide services to help get homeless people off the streets.

The mayor said that Outreach NYC, an agency intended to shelter the homeless, will be making an “enhanced effort to reach homeless New Yorkers living on the streets to include family members and friends of these unsheltered individuals,” by allowing family and friends of the homeless to submit reports on those individuals through 311.

After identifying their relationship to the unsheltered person to 311, if family members express an interest in reconnecting with and helping them, they will be contacted by the Department of Homeless Services, which will “obtain the information necessary for following up and determine ways in which to collaborate to support the clients move towards stability,” the mayor’s office said in a release. “DHS will make every effort to facilitate that reconnection so that the individual may ultimately be helped off the street by that family or friend.”

In addition to the Outreach NYC expansion, the city will be launching a social media ad campaign in December that will urge family and friends of the homeless to seek assistance during the holiday season, according to the mayor’s office.

“We are a compassionate city, and New Yorkers look out for one another,” de Blasio said.

His office also called these new interventions and approaches to combat homelessness a way increase both pathways off the streets and options available to New Yorkers in need who are ready to make that transition.

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the citywide challenge of homelessness,” the mayor’s office stated.

This also comes as part of a larger citywide initiative called HOME-STAT, which incorporates the FDNY, DSNY, the Departments of Health, Buildings, and Parks which all are working to provide needed services to the homeless throughout the five boroughs, according to de Blasio’s office.

So far it’s gotten over 2,000 homeless individuals off the streets in the city, according to the Mayor’s office.

“We are redoubling our efforts to bring our most vulnerable off the streets and into a pathway of lasting stability,” de Blasio said.

Alex Mitchell