Over the past four years the number of homeless New Yorkers who seek shelter in the subways has skyrocketed by 90 percent, to a total of 1,841 today. To address this problem the city signed a contract with the Bowery Residents Committee for $6 million over several years. One benefit of the deal was the tripling of the number of social workers and clinicians to 60, allowing the city to reach out to more homeless people.
There are now about 1,000 homeless in the caseload of this new and unprecedented program. So far the program has convinced 261 of them to accept housing and other services that are available to them.
“We’ve increased the placement into transitional housing tenfold and we see that as a huge indication our efforts are working,” said assistant commissioner Danielle Minelli-Pagnotta.
To be considered a “chronically homeless” person an individual must be seen sleeping in the subway on a minimum of five occasions, said officials from the Department of Homeless Services. Each person is assigned a case manager, and information obtained from the homeless person is entered into a centralized data base.