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Mayor de Blasio says homeless outreach will be shifted away from NYPD and be carried out entirely by the Department of Social Services. The changes come after budget negotiations this week.
The NYPD’s homeless outreach unit, made up of more than 80 officers, will be disbanded and those cops reassigned.
“The NYPD played a constructive role but as we talked about what can be shifted to civilian agencies, it’s become clear that our Department of Social Services can handle this work,” the Mayor told NY1. “That transition will occur over the course of this fiscal year.”
This is a flip from June, when the Mayor allocated more responsibility to the NYPD and cut the budget of the DSS.
In January, the Mayor showed off a new joint command center that monitored the city via video cameras to react to homeless issues on the streets. That center will now be handed over to the Department of Homeless Services, and the NYPD relieved of their duties. At that time, he pushed the idea that the homeless problems needed a multi-agency approach. “Have you ever seen a command center like this in New York City history? I think it’s going to make a huge difference. We’re training more and more NYPD officers to do the outreach and getting the two agencies to work together at all times.”
The decision has been welcomed by the Coalition for the Homeless. In January, on the creation of the command center, it told FilterMag: “The increased reliance on the NYPD to conduct outreach is counterproductive and misguided. The practices of issuing summonses, surveilling homeless individuals, and coercing people to leave the subways with threats of arrest are inhumane and a misuse of police officers’ time.”