UPDATED 9:24 AM PT – Friday, January 7, 2022
New York Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams came together for a joint plan to combat the cities homelessness and crime crisis on its subway system.
On Thursday, Hochul announced homeless outreach units dubbed Safe Options Support will be comprised of about 10 trained professionals to get those who are homeless out of the subways and into shelters. She said the program will start with creating new state-funded outreach teams of medical professionals as well as social workers. It’s unclear how much this initiative will cost the state.
It’s a new era of working to fight the homelessness crisis and address longstanding inequities in the housing market.
Our new Safe Options Support teams will work hand-in-hand with New York City to help transition New Yorkers living on the street into stable housing.
— Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) January 7, 2022
Both officials said this will leave police officers to focus on serious crime. The New York City Police Department will have to send more cops underground to conduct hundreds more visual inspections on the trains each day and night. Adams said they want to focus on reducing crime for riders while adding, officers are now going to ride the trains as well.
“We will not allow our police officer to have unnecessary engagement with the homeless individuals and those petty issues that will cause negative encounters with our police officers and the riders of the public,” stated the mayor. “We want serious criminals…that is our focus: public safety.”
Since homelessness isn’t illegal, those who refuse help are allowed to go on their way or, in other words, stay living on the subway. Neither Hochul or Adams addressed how teams would handle this type of situation.
Meanwhile, the newly minted mayor touted public safety during his campaign days and wasted no time cracking down on the issue during his first week.
“Too many officers who are hired for public safety are siting behind desks,” he stated. “We gave them that bulletproof vest, that badge and that firearm to go on patrol and protect the public, not to protect a computer screen. We want them on patrol where they’re suppose to be…we are going to beef up our man power in real way.”
In the meantime, the mayor and governor seem to have a new tone of saving the city unlike the previous leadership.