Initiatives that Governor Kathy Hochul announced during her State of the State address earlier this month are now underway, including a plan to help homeless people on the subway.
The Hochul Administration issued a request for proposals (RFP) today to deploy the new Safe Options Support outreach teams, were nonprofit organizations can join forces with the state government to help combat homelessness. According to Hochul, the teams will consist of civilian workers as well as clinicians. “Too many New Yorkers are sleeping on our streets and subways – they need resources and support to get back on their feet. By deploying outreach professionals to targeted areas, we will help improve safety and ensure New Yorkers experiencing homelessness have the support they need.”
While this process is underway, the state will begin with immediate outreach through a small group of 20.
According to a press release the SOS team swill conduct one-on-one outreach with New Yorkers experiencing homelessness, and also include on-street and in-subway clinicians, nurses, social workers, and behavioral health specialists, so that the “street-to-referral logjam” is broken. They plan to deploy 20 SOS teams in total, including four in New York by early spring and eight more in the summer.
“The SOS teams will use evidence-based practices that are proven to help the individuals who are most at-risk and often the most difficult to reach. By working closely with New York City agencies and officials, we will be able to better identify the people who most need our assistance and get them off the street and into safe housing.” said Dr. Ann Sullivan, commissioner of the Office of Mental Health.
The mayor of New York City also applauded the governor for her work to help those who are unsheltered. “We look forward to building on our partnership to identify new and compassionate ways in which we can help some of our city’s most vulnerable residents get back on their feet,” Adams said.
This is one part of Hochul’s homelessness plan; Other initiatives include extending Kendra’s Law, which could help individuals with serious mental problems get the care they need.