Photo Courtesy of Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office
The City has already begun to provide comprehensive homeless-outreach training to 18,000 municipal employees across five agencies.
By Forum Staff
The City has launched a new citywide, multi-agency effort to help homeless New Yorkers, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday.
Outreach NYC will mobilize thousands of frontline city agency staff to request outreach assistance via 311 when they observe individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness, with the goal of continuing to help more unsheltered New Yorkers transition off the streets and subways into transitional and permanent settings, according to the administration.
“We cannot attempt to address this issue in a vacuum. It’s time we all wear one uniform,” Hizzoner said. “Outreach NYC is our all-hands-on-deck approach to bring even more people in off the streets.”
The City has already begun to provide comprehensive training to 18,000 municipal employees across five agencies, including the Department of Sanitation, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Fire Department, the Department of Buildings, and the Parks Department, on how to use the 311 app in all of its platforms to submit Service Requests related to individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness. These SRs will be routed to the City’s new Joint Command Center announced earlier this year, managed by the Department of Homeless Services and NYPD, where interagency staff will analyze trends, triage requests, and prioritize and deploy multi-agency responses as appropriate, including to provide collaborative assistance to more challenging cases involving high-needs individuals.
The JCC, which opened in August, brings relevant agency experts to the table to develop tailored approaches to engaging each individual based on their unique needs. HOME-STAT outreach teams are coordinating with agency partners to address the needs of the specific subset of individuals confirmed to be experiencing unsheltered homelessness, known to outreach teams by name, and considered “entrenched,” defined as having been engaged 50 or more times throughout a one-year period, indicating greater need requiring more interagency expertise. Through close collaboration with partner agencies, HOME-STAT outreach teams and Transit Bureau PD are developing targeted interventions on a case-by-case basis to make the breakthrough that encourages these individuals to finally accept services and transition off the subways.
At the same time, the City is in the process of hiring an additional 180 outreach workers. This will bring the number of outreach workers to more than 550.
“Today’s announcement represents our latest enhancement bringing the power of citywide collaboration to bear in service of our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “By strengthening engagement, building trust, and providing more pathways off the streets, we will continue redoubling our efforts through the most comprehensive homeless outreach initiative in the nation, which has already helped more than 2,200 New Yorkers come off the streets and subways and into transitional and permanent housing programs. With compassionate frontline public servants acting as additional eyes and ears, helping our HOME-STAT teams further target their outreach and meet people where they are, we remain squarely focused on taking this progress further.”