Over half of homeless removed from subways accepted help from city outreach

Just over half of the more-than 250 homeless people ousted from city subways early Wednesday amid historic overnight closures for coronavirus cleaning took the city up on offers for help, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.

“Last night, 139 homeless individuals out of 252 who were engaged by our outreach workers and by the NYPD officers especially trained in homeless outreach … agreed to accept support, accept service and come in off the streets,” said de Blasio in a City Hall press briefing.

“We’ve never seen so much success in a single night before.”

The system-wide blitz was necessitated by a suspension of service between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., to allow for a now-nightly disinfecting of trains to help ease the minds of essential workers commuting in the morning rush.

The approximately 11,000 essential workers who commute during that four-hour span are receiving comped connections to buses, vans or for-hire vehicles from the MTA.

A small army of NYPD and MTA cops, along with outreach workers, cleared the last train at each end of each line around 1 a.m., forcing hundreds of rail-riding homeless to street level, in what de Blasio has called a two-pronged attack.

The 139 who took up the city’s offer were placed in congregate shelters or safe havens, de Blasio said.


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