Mayor Adams on Monday declared “mission accomplished” in his campaign to move homeless people out of the city’s subway system.
“You arrive to trains, now you don’t have those encampments everywhere that you saw before,” he told reporters during a news conference at City Hall. “You don’t have a large number of people who are homeless like you saw before.”
“We won,” Hizzoner declared
The mayor and Gov. Hochul in February announced an initiative dubbed the “subway safety plan,” which aimed to blitz end-of-line subway stations with homeless outreach and mental health workers.
Those workers are typically accompanied by cops and psychiatrists who force homeless people into care if they’re deemed to be a threat to themselves or others.
As of Aug. 20, 2,222 individuals had checked into shelter under the plan, according to Adams spokeswoman Kate Smart. City officials did not state how many of those people later left the system.
The city estimates 3,400 people sleep on the subways and streets in the winter, though homeless advocates say that’s a big undercount since the figure is based on a one-night survey covering a small portion of the subway system.
Some subway workers painted a less rosy picture of homelessness underground than the mayor.
One veteran subway conductor who asked not to be named called Adams’ depiction “crazy.” He pointed to an Aug. 19 incident in which another conductor was hospitalized after being punched in the face while working at the Canal St. station on the J line as evidence the city must do more to address the mental health crisis in the subways.
“Overnight homeless is down — and they have more outreach workers — but it’s summer, and the problem hasn’t gone away,” said a train operator who also asked not to be named. “It’s like you’ve been on a diet, but you’ve only lost 2 pounds.”
Adams on Monday acknowledged homelessness on the subways tends to improve during the summer.
“Wintertime is going to bring new challenges — we’re clear on that,” he said. “But we’re going to be prepared when the time comes so we can continue to do what’s right for our fellow New Yorkers.”