De Blasio sending canvassers to help city’s homeless population

Police, social workers will look to put street population in touch with city services
December 17, 2015 02:50PM

Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking measures to curb the city’s homelessness problem by sending teams of social workers and police officers to seek out the homeless and put them in touch with city services.

With as many as 4,000 people living on New York City’s streets, the teams will canvass areas of Manhattan from Canal to 145th streets where the homeless have congregated.

While those violating quality-of-life regulations by panhandling, building encampments or publicly urinating will be handled by the police, outreach workers from the city’s Department of Homeless Services will reach out to the rest, according to Bloomberg.

The program, called HOME-STAT, would be the most comprehensive effort to confront homelessness in a major American city, de Blasio said, with more than 100 police officers and 300 social service workers involved.

The mayor has faced heightened criticism over the past several months over an apparent increase in the city’s homeless population. The de Blasio administration has moved more than 22,000 people into shelters since taking office, with the number of people in the city’s shelter system standing at roughly 58,000 – compared with about 23,000 two decades ago. [Bloomberg]Rey Mashayekhi