Mayor Calls On Friends And Family Of Homeless New Yorkers To Join Citywide Outreach

November 26, 2019

The de Blasio Administration today announced the expansion of Outreach NYC – the city’s enhanced effort to reach homeless New Yorkers living on the streets.

This will include family members and friends of these unsheltered individuals. Moving forward, families and friends of New Yorkers experiencing unsheltered homelessness will be able to submit reports for those relatives and friends through 311 and those reports will be routed directly to the Department of Homeless Services for triage and coordinated action.

The expansion will be accompanied by a citywide social media ad campaign to launch in December urging family and friends of the homeless to seek assistance during the holiday season.

“We are a compassionate City, and New Yorkers look out for one another,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “With Outreach NYC, we are redoubling our efforts to bring our most vulnerable off the streets and into a pathway of lasting stability.”

This Outreach NYC: Family and Friends expansion builds on the City’s new OutreachNYC initiative, through which 18,000 frontline City Agency employees are being trained and encouraged to participate in ongoing, round-the-clock HOME-STAT homeless outreach by submitting service requests in real-time when they see someone in need. As of today, employees from all five participating agencies—FDNY, DOHMH, DSNY, DOB and Parks—have received training.

The expansion is yet another component of New York City’s HOME-STAT initiative, the most comprehensive street outreach program in the nation, through which HOME-STAT outreach teams have helped more than 2,200 unsheltered New Yorkers off the streets and into transitional and permanent settings.

How It Works—Families and friends who submit reports to 311 that include one of several keywords signifying a relationship with an individual on the streets (such as “mother/father,” “relative,” “friend,”) and express an interest in reconnecting with and helping that unsheltered family member or friend will be contacted by the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), who will obtain the information necessary for following up and determine ways in which to collaborate to support the clients move towards stability. In the event that an unsheltered New Yorker gives outreach teams’ permission for their confidential client case information to be shared with those family members or friends, DHS will make every effort to facilitate that reconnection so that the individual may ultimately be helped off the street by that family or friend.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the citywide challenge of homelessness. New interventions and innovative approaches like this help the City increase the pathways off the streets and options available to New Yorkers in need who are ready to make that transition.

“Homeless New Yorkers living on the streets are among the most vulnerable members of our community, and we refuse to ignore their struggle,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Raul Perea-Henze. “Our administration is confronting the challenge with the expansion of Outreach NYC to enlist family and friends of unsheltered New Yorkers. Loved ones are key allies in our campaign to help homeless New Yorkers find a path off the streets and toward stability, and we urge all family and friends to use 311 and contact us for assistance.”

“Today’s announcement represents our latest HOME-STAT enhancement bringing the power of fundamentally compassionate New Yorkers 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 HOME-STAT, 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 the family and friends of New Yorkers experiencing unsheltered homelessness helping our HOME-STAT teams further target their outreach and meet people where they are, we remain squarely focused on taking this progress further.”

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