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Mayor Bill de Blasio Announces Enhanced Security Measures, Increased Mental Health Services for Homeless Shelters, Improved Coordination on Challenging Cases

January 30, 2016

24/7 peace officers at all mental health shelters, additional clinical staff at intake centers and shelters, increased coordination between Health + Hospitals, Homeless Services and NYC Safe

NYPD conducting security review of all 27 mental health shelters

NEW YORK—As part of an ongoing review of services to prevent and reduce homelessness, Mayor Bill de Blasio today directed his administration to enhance security measures and add more mental health professionals to increase safety at shelters and support mentally ill, homeless New Yorkers. The Administration also is implementing a new 24/7 communication process between NYC Health + Hospitals and Department of Homelessness Services shelters to ensure better coordinated case management and allow shelter operators to better support clients.

“The murder of one of our shelter residents is shocking and disturbing, and we must address shelter security with urgency. Our shelters should be safe environments where homeless people, with and without mental illness, can be treated with respect, become self-sufficient and move to permanent housing,” said Mayor de Blasio.
NYPD is increasing security at the Boulevard Homeless Shelter in East Harlem, where the murder of a shelter resident occurred, and will complete a system-wide security assessment of all 27 mental health shelters within the next 10 days. 

Other efforts to improve security at shelters and increase mental health services include the following:

  • The City will deploy new mental health teams to DHS shelter intake centers to evaluate service and shelter placement needs of clients.
  • DHS will deploy additional peace officers to provide 24/7 coverage at all mental health shelters.
  • DHS will provide additional funding to bolster mental health services at all DHS and contracted mental health shelters.
  • DHS and HHC will implement a new 24/7 protocol for discharges of clients from HHC facilities to DHS shelters to communicate status and treatment needs.

Mayor de Blasio has developed and is implementing one of the most comprehensive plans to prevent and reduce homelessness in the country. Currently an extensive, 90-day review, conducted by First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris, Deputy Mayor Dr. Herminia Palacio, HRA Commissioner Steve Banks and Operations Director Mindy Tarlow, is underway to improve existing services and coordination of all homelessness policies and programs.

Since his election, Mayor de Blasio has moved over 22,000 homeless individuals into permanent housing and helped to prevent over 91,000 New Yorkers from becoming homeless. He also:

  • Increased 10-fold legal service funding to assist tenants in housing courts to prevent unlawful eviction.
  • Launched a plan for 15,000 units of supportive housing ­­– permanent housing with supportive services to help stabilize lives of homeless individuals.
  • Ended chronic veteran homelessness. 
  • Launched HOME-STAT to ensure consistent, continued outreach to all street homeless, encouraging them to seek shelter, medical care and other services.
  • Removed 30 encampments and put system in place to monitor new encampments and provide services to homeless individuals living in encampments.
  • Doubled drop-in centers, a gateway to bring people in from streets to shelter.
  • Added 500 Safe Haven Beds in houses of worship, which are lower threshold shelters often more attractive to individuals who reject traditional shelter.
  • Increased by 50 percent domestic violence beds at Domestic Violence shelters to serve total of 13,300 individuals.
  • Expanded daytime jobs training and vocational programming at shelters to serve almost 20,000 individuals to ensure residents have access to shelter during the daytime.
  • Tripled the number of beds for runaway homeless youth – totaling 750 beds.

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