Pols call for remedy after Post reveals empty apartments for homeless people

Powerful city lawmakers have urged Mayor Eric Adams to act quickly to fill some 2,500 empty townhouses for homeless New Yorkers after The Post revealed how a bureaucratic “nightmare” left them uninhabited.

The number was all the more remarkable because it is nearly identical to the 2,463 New Yorkers who live on the city’s streets and subway system, according to the federal government’s most recent census.

“We’re in the middle of a crisis when it comes to homelessness and we keep realizing that there are these bureaucratic hoops,” said Council Majority Leader Keith Powers, who called the fiasco “ridiculous”. .

“It’s 2022, we need to find a way to bring people together quickly and with homes,” he added. “We need to accelerate these placements while mustering the resources to fund a longer-term solution.”

The story, the third to be published by The Post in recent weeks, has exposed significant flaws in New York’s sprawling Social Security system that are hampering Mayor Eric Adams’ high-profile efforts to combat homelessness and mental illness on the city’s streets . The others revealed:

Apartment buildings in Manhattan.
New York City council members were quick to take note of the Post’s report of more than 2,000 vacant apartments due to a bureaucratic “nightmare.”
Getty Images/iStockphoto

“We can’t let the previous administration’s bureaucratic dysfunctions or funding cuts prevent it from getting New Yorkers off the streets,” said Councilor Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn), who chairs the Budgets Committee and says he supports City Hall’s recent efforts to fight homelessness and mental illness on subways.

“If this was ignored by the previous administration, we need to attack it and fix it,” Brannan added.

Adams has launched two high-profile efforts to improve security on city trains following a spate of deadly attacks on city subways.

New York Mayor Eric Adams speaks during the 2022 New York State Democratic Convention at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel on February 17, 2022 in New York City.
Mayor Eric Adams promised to tackle the Big Apple’s subway crime spate by adding more NYPD patrols to train platforms.
Michael M Santiago/Getty Images

The first, introduced in January, aimed to deter potential crime by flooding the tube system with additional patrols from beat cops.

The second, introduced in February, aimed to use a carrot-and-stick approach to encourage homeless people in New York to seek shelter by increasing enforcement of MTA regulations — including bans on sleeping and smoking on trains — coupled with an increased reach of underground social services.

“It is infinitely problematic that these homes are empty,” said Catherine Trapani, executive director of Homeless Services United.

Homeless Outreach workers interact with a person sleeping on a bench in the Manhattan subway system, Monday, February 21, 2022, in New York.
City Hall has deployed more social workers on the subway in hopes of encouraging more homeless people to go to shelters.
AP Photo/John Minchillo, file

She urged HRA to better track available housing and invest in computer systems that allow them to track units and their occupancy.

“They have to do everything they can to fill the positions,” she added. “We must be good stewards of these resources.” Pols call for remedy after Post reveals empty apartments for homeless people


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