The hiring increase worries some advocates who say the data collectors could erode the crucial trust street homeless New Yorkers develop with nonprofit outreach workers who develop relationships during routine visits.
New York City is set to hire more than 100 temporary workers to track homeless people bedding down in the subway system as overnight transit service resumes, officials said Tuesday.
A total of 112 people will begin nine-month stints as “street outreach associates” logging observations and reporting the locations of street homeless New Yorkers to the Department of Homeless Services’ (DHS) Joint Command Center, according to a job posting on nyc.gov. DHS now employs about 85 people who oversee and assist with outreach efforts that are mostly performed by nonprofit contractor BRC.
The initiative will pay just under $21 an hour to new hires tasked with “daily canvass observations, information gathering, and assessments,” the job listing states. The new staffers will also log “observations of apparent homeless individuals using handheld devices” and perform “low level engagements with homeless clients.”
The hiring surge comes as the de Blasio administration faces state pressure to prevent homeless New Yorkers from staying in subway cars and platforms.
Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks, who oversees DHS, says the staff increase will help accomplish that, but the city cannot force people into shelters.
“Accepting services is voluntary under state law, and unsheltered individuals who have typically fallen through every social safety net may understandably distrust systems that have failed them in the past,” Banks wrote in an op-ed for the Daily News Tuesday. “It can take months to help them come indoors, involving hundreds of engagements with outreach teams to rebuild the trust that will result in accepting services.”
Yet, the hiring increase worries some advocates who say the data collectors could erode the crucial trust street homeless New Yorkers develop with nonprofit outreach workers who develop relationships during routine visits. They also say the initiative diverts funding from actual housing solutions and portends a greater increase in homeless sweeps — an enforcement strategy they say fails to move street homeless New Yorkers into the housing they need.
“It’s just ridiculous how many resources are being invested in tracking a population whose needs we already know and understand — housing,” says Josh Dean, director of the homeless rights organization Human.nyc. “The city will basically have a map of all the people who want housing but won’t have housing to offer them, unless they change their priorities.”
DHS says its outreach efforts over the last year, mostly conducted by staff from the nonprofit contractor BRC, have helped over 800 people move into shelters after sleeping in subway cars and stations. The city has opened about 1,300 beds specifically intended for street homeless New Yorkers in the past 18 months.
“Just as we conducted round-the-clock, 24/7 subway outreach before the pandemic and the subway closures, we intend to do so when 24-hour subway service resumes, so we can build on this year’s progress,” said Department of Homeless Services spokesperson Isaac McGinn in a statement.
Overnight subway service resumed Monday after a roughly year-long suspension, with the city assigning 250 additional NYPD officers to patrol the trains and stations at the insistence of the MTA and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
DHS says the new staffers will not work in conjunction with the NYPD, however. DHS and the NYPD have stopped coordinating in the Joint Command Center, where officials plot the locations of homeless New Yorkers on a map, watch them on surveillance cameras and assign outreach teams or other city workers.
Instead, they will count homeless New Yorkers at end-of-line subway stations and provide them with some information about “safe haven” and “stabilization” beds, which have fewer restrictions than most shelters, according to DHS. The agency will also assign the new workers to eight “high-traffic subway stations” from 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. each day while taking over outreach from the MTA at Penn Station, Atlantic Terminal and Jamaica Station.
A significant number of New Yorkers who choose to stay in public spaces experience some form of mental illness, and the majority say they first tried the city shelter system before determining it was too unsafe or insufficient to meet their needs, according to an April survey by the Coalition for the Homeless.
Individuals staying in public spaces, like the subway system, account for a relatively small but particularly visible portion of the city’s homeless population, which is estimated in the hundreds of thousands. During the 2020 fiscal year, nearly 123,000 different men, women and children spent at least a night in a city shelter, according to data compiled by the Coalition for the Homeless. An untold number of other New Yorkers reside in precarious living situations, where their names do not appear on a lease or deed.
There were 3,857 people staying on streets and subways on Jan. 27, 2020, according to the most recent point-in-time count conducted by the city. The census, known as the HOPE Count, is mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and used to determine federal funding to address homelessness.
Dean, of Human.nyc, says the city is spinning its wheels by increasing the number of workers who collect data on street homeless individuals.The New Yorkers bedding down in public spaces want permanent housing, not more referrals to temporary shelters, he added.
“The mayor’s message is clear,” he added. “It doesn’t matter if people get housing, just get them out of sight.”
7 thoughts on “NYC to Hire 112 Temp Workers to Track Homeless in Subways as 24-Hour Service Resumes”
So the DHS will pay BRC to hire 112 part-time workers to spy on the 5000 subway homeless and log their use of smartphones, and send them to the drop-in centers that have less than 250 chairs (no beds) among them, but not give them housing? For what purpose? Whose mind came up with this scheme?
NOT FOR NOTHING …. SINCE I WAS 5 YEARS OLD I ALWAY. TRIED TO HELP OTHERS WHOM ARE STRUGGLING ,
TO THIS DAY. I PASS OUT CLOTHING. ALWAYS ,
EVER DAY FOR THE PAST 22 YEARS. BUY. 8 OR 11 OF THE FRIENDS NOW I CALL THEM , MAKE SURE THEY HAVE A MEAL .
I HAVE ACTUALLY PICKED UP GIRLS OFF THE FLOOR TOOK THEM IN. AND HAVE. GOTTON THEM OFF THE ST .
NOW BACK ON THE FEET AND THRIVING . …..
PEOPLE DONT EVEN REALIZE. . 92 PERCENT OF THESE INDEVIDUALS. ARE VETERAN.S.
. EVERY ONE. I CAME ACRROSS HAVE SERVED FOR THIS COUNTRY . , graduated. COLLAGE…. and. The. System. FAILD THEM .
WHEN U. TAKE SOMEONE. WHOM HAS BEEN. LIVING. FREELY ON THE STEET. THEY FEEL THAT THERE TRAPED …. INTO. A. BOX
, ITS LIKE PUTTING A WILD ANIMAL. INTO. A CRATE …
AND THE Transition . Is not as easy. AS IT SOUND.S
.my good friend. Whom was homeless for 4 years. . Wrote a. Book . Just now published.
USA TODAY , ‘ WALL STREET JOURNAL. .’
BEST SELLER . JUE5T NOW RELEASED …
UNSHELTERED LOVE. WHOMEVER. READS THIS. HERES A LOOK IN TO THE NOW. OF. ROSE HILL KIPS BAY. HOMELESS . MEN , WOMAN, BOYS AND GIRLS. OF MY NEIGHBORHOOD..
ALL THE INDEVIDUALS. WHOM LIVE ON THE STREETS. HERE . UP TO DATE . .
HERES A SOLUTION…. BLD. TEMP. HOUSING , LIKE THE MAYOR DID FOR THE IMMAGRINTS
THAT HAVE BEEN COMING TO NY. ….FROM MEXICO … AND. START ON THE BOTTOM . OF THE LADDER .
SEPERATE. IN TO CATOGORIES
, EXAMPLE .
First ting first:.
. Every one should get. A small bag. With tooth brush. Tooth paste , comb , deodorant. , pair of socks. , shampoo and. Soap bar and a small hand sanitizer. A small pack of tissues . And a bottle of water. To. A positive start. Showing them. That are system. Trying. To do thing s. Differently. This time around. . .
I’m sure. Company’s. That deal with travel products. Would be willing to donate.
Holliday season. … most say is a time. For giving….
A . HE OR SHE WHOM HAVE IDENTAFACATION , AND. A SOCIAL WORKER. , AND IS ALREdy in the system … but. Has not followed up with staying in a shelter.
B . If so. Whom. Needs. Meacal Ed’s. And. TLC that need to be evaluated. To know. If they need. To be in. A area. For.ental. disorders. And put them in to facility’s. Where they can get help. And not be. In a shelter where it’s over looked. And. Commit crimes. They. Don’t know why they did it
A tempary solution. For the winter season .
1 by one, . With TLC,. AND SHOWNING. THAT. THIS IS JUST NOT ROUNDING UP. CATTLE AND. DUMPING THEM ALL IN TO 1 PEN
( AND. SO ON …ECT … )
… THEY NEED TO KNOW , THERE VOICES ARE HERD., AND. REASURE. THEM , …..
THE SYSTEM. IN 2022/ 2023. WONT FAILL YOU. , AND MAKE SURE. THIS PROGRAM. WILL FOLLOW THORU.GH with in. What they say when recruiting indeviduals to try housing with out forcing tham .
–IF THE INDEVIDUALS. WANT. A. HELP. , THE GOVERMENT NEED. TO SHOW. THEM SLOYLY . THAT THEY STICK TO THERE WORD..
NEWS TRAVELS FAST. AS BIG AS NYC IS. ITS NOT THAT BIG
AND. HOPE FOR. A DOMINO’ EFFECT OF WORD OF MOUTH NEWS TRAVLES. FAST ON THE STREETS …. .
At the END. , ALL WE CAN DO IS HOPE FOR THE BEST . AND HOPE THERE WILLING. TO. BETTER. THERE LIVES. ,
This is just my out look. On this. And. Having. Know and. Now very friendly. With. People. In my area..
I have. People. Whom. What housing. And want off the street. And I have there information. And. And names. And. There info ..
Please email me. . I can. Help. Them. If u read out. To me.
These guys have been on the streets between. 4 to 15 years. . .
I hope to hear from some one !!!
FROM WHAT I READ. U TALK ABOUT DHS …. THIS …DHS THAT ..
THESE INDEVIDUAL WHOM. ARE GOING TO PERTISAPATE IN THIS……..
WILL NOT TAKE THIS ON FOR THE NEXT 8 MONTHS IF THEY HAVE NO HEART , AND DONT CARE , ABOUT THIS ON GOING. ISSUE. WITH. HOMELESSNESS… ,
HE OE SHE WHOM. DOEST CARE. , DOES NOT. TAKE ACTION TO HELP OTHERS .
TO WHOM READS THIS:.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING. TO ALL!!
Wow , this I did know . , THAT IS LOW DOWN , DIRTY, ,
HONESTY. IS THE BEST POLICY. TO THESE. NOW 88. INDEVIDUALS WHOM. ARE NOW. RECRUTED …
U SAY A CHAIR .. AND AND. REALLY DOWNTALKING , THIS.
: HAVE YOU SEEN THE. AREA OR FACILTYS. THAT. THERE. GOING. TO TAKE. THEM TOO?
U NOW. IN. FOR EXAMPLE. IN HOSPITALS. THEY HAVE CHAIRS THAT. PULL OUT IN TO A LAY DOWN BED . . , YES ITS NOT. A BED. .
ITS BETTER THEN. THE SUBWAY. BENCH. SAFER THEN. SLEEPING ON THE TRAINS …
WARMER. THEN. THE COLD 34 DEGREES. THAT IT IS OUT SIDE …
DONT KNOCK IT. … B4 U. U. SEE IT. ,OR EXPERIENCED. LIVING ON THE ST , WANT HELP , BUT NEED THAT TLC OF SOME ONE TO GIVE THEM THAT OPTION. , AND. A HELPING. HAND. THAT SOME ONE OUT THERE DOES. CARE ….
MOST OF THEM WANT. IN. BUT. NEEDS THE HELP TO. TAKE THAT FIST STEP . ITS. STARTING AT THE BOTTOM.
AND IT GETS BETTER FROM THERE .. IF THEY ARE WILLING TO SICK WITH IT . … EVERY BODY HAS TO START. . AT THE BOTTOM
MOST PEOPLE ….
SPYING ITS NOT. ITS GOOD TO KNOW AND RESEARCH. AND. COUNT. AND. TAKE. ROLL. HOW MANY MORE. FAMILYS. SINGLE MOTHERS. WITH CHILDERN. MEN. CUPPLES. . BOYS GIRLS. HANYCAP HOMES PEOLE. WE HAVE YEAR TO YEAR .
ITS IMPORTANT .
TO TAKE COUNT .
I LIVE IN THE CITY MY WHOLE LIFE IM 44. AND. REMEMBERING. IT USE TO BE ONLY 74 THOUSAND HOMLES FAMILYS. , LOW NUMBERS , ALSO WITH MEN AND FEMALS . ALL UNDER 100, 000
NOW LOOK . , THAT IS EARGING. THE CITY. TO LOOK AT THIS ISSUE. AND NOT. TURN THERE. HEAD
YEAH THE GOV. NEVER WANTED TO DEAL. THERES NO MONEY FOR ANY OF THEM TO MAKE FROM THIS. . SO. HOMELESSNESS WAS NEVER. AN ISSUE
THANKS. TO. COVID. , THAY HAD. TO. CARE ABOUT. THE HOMELESSNESS…
AND. NOW. THING ARE GOING TO CHANGE. FOR THEM. SLOWLY. AND. JUST GET BETTER. …AS YEARS TO COME .
Having a roof over your. Head. . And. Food. And. Heat . Is a sure. Positive. Change. From the. Nyc. Side walk. ,, under scafolting , park bench,s , the infestations. Of the rat. Issues. … there ruthless. And infested. Recently. The worst this city seen in decades … as u know. . and subway bench s
Think about it . . I would take that in a heart beat . Over. Nyc. Streets. If. Had that chance . Many. Older. Men I use to know. Died of frost bite. Many years ago. If. Nyc had this. 10. > 15. > 20. Years ago. All my buddies. Wouldn’t of died. From. Being out in the cold. Freezing to death.
They always wished the city. Would care. About. The. Homes. Whom lost. Every thing. …. so.
I guess I see things a bit different …
Something is better then. Nothing ….
-If you going to hire new people to work for DHS and keep an eye on homeless people well that is a shame.
I just do not understand if they are sleeping and not doing nothing it does not make sense but you need to #PassIntro146.
If you going to place them you need to put them into hotel and do the intake there and receive housing from there.
I wise things would get better with DHS and a mutual understanding on how they feel about the shelter system and what made them leave.
112 more workers hire but why and it still does not make sense.
I hope some of your workers were formerly homeless that work with DHS.
You can not force them to go in the shelter because they do not trust it.
Things need to change now .
I can’t blame them. Workers in shelters are heartless and very oppressive. People like to feel free. They treat people like animals even if the are descent people that end up there due to unforseen circumstances
$21 an hour workers will end up costing the city a ton more after all is said and done. Ask yourself: have you ever seen a BRC outreach worker on the subway? They already have a ton of them on the payroll already!
This is just another sophisticated scam to funnel money to Muzzy.