How a new bill aims to improve the monitoring of NYC's homeless population
What happens when someone experiencing homelessness is removed from the streets? In the city's current state, it's hard to tell because there's very little data.
Homelessness advocates say that information is essential - and it could become easily accessible once Introduction 1153 is signed into law.
"Hopefully it'll make the case we've all been making, which is that this is an ineffective policy,” said Will Watts, deputy executive director of advocacy for the Coalition for the Homeless.
The new bill is making its way to the mayor's desk. It would require social services to work with other agencies, like NYPD and the Parks Department, to make at least 24 reports a year.
Half of those reports will document each time a person is removed from a public space and by what agencies.
"It's an opportunity to see who's participating in those sweeps," said Watts.
The other half will track how people are impacted by the removals, such as what housing services they receive and if any arrests are made.
"Because of their concerns with engaging with police, it can be traumatizing and that can further destabilize them and cause them not to engage with service providers or make that transition off the streets," said Watts.
New York City Comptroller Brad Lander reported this summer that out of 2,308 people removed during encampment sweeps in 2022, only three people had housing by the start of 2023.