March 18, 2016
By Tara Jessup
New York, NY – The New York City Police Department will be developing an action plan to upgrade security at all shelter facilities. A new more extensive reporting system for incidents that occur in shelters will be implimented. The Mayor has authorized additional security for mental health shelters and commercial hotels, and the NYPD is now responsible for shelter safety.
“I’ve been clear that we are going to own the challenges of homelessness and be transparent about how serious they are and what we are doing to deal with them,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “For the first time, we are reporting thoroughly on the problem. We have substantially increased security, and we are bringing in the NYPD to ensure it is managed effectively. In addition, we are offering enhanced domestic violence services to families. We want homeless shelters to be safe and clean, but at the same time we must and we will continue to move families out and prevent them from coming to shelter in the first place.”
For years, many incidents in shelters were not reported particularly family disputes. In Families with Children in shelters, domestic violence was 60 percent of the violent incidents, while it was 80 percent in Adult Family shelters. Since more needs to be done to address domestic violence in shelters, additional family services will be added to shelter operations. In addition, the City will re-establish a domestic violence program in the Department of Homeless Services directed to shelters.
“Our shelter system can only work if homeless individuals know they’re safe when they enter it,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Disproportionately, the violence we see in shelters is domestic violence – which is a scourge on our society, and a terrible obstacle for any individual to overcome on the path out of homelessness.”