New York City officials will soon begin implementing rules to prevent unhoused people from seeking shelter on the subway, Mayor Eric Adams announced Friday. Residents could see changes as soon as next week, Adams said.
“The system is not made to be housing,” Adams said Friday at a press conference. “It’s made to be transportation and we have to return back to that basic philosophy.”
A key component of the plan will direct the NYPD to enforce rules against people sleeping across multiple seats, exhibiting “aggressive” behavior and creating an “unsanitary environment,” the mayor’s office said in a statement. The plan, implemented in partnership with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New York Governor Kathy Hochul, will also require all passengers to leave the train and station at the end of each subway line, and prohibits using the subway for a purpose other than transportation.
Despite the changes, Adams vowed that his administration is “not going to abandon our homeless brothers and sisters.” The plan also calls for interventions like expanding the city’s mental and physical heath care services for unhoused people, streamlining the placement process into supportive housing, and creating additional drop-in centers for people to spend time indoors.
“This is not about arresting people,” Adams said. “This is about arresting a problem. We’re not going to be heavy handed.”
Hochul on Friday also announced new investments to address homelessness and mental health in the state, including $27.5 million for psychiatric beds statewide and $12 million for 500 additional supportive housing beds.
“This is what government does,” the governor said. “We take care of people. We provide the resources and we’ll get this done.”
The announcement comes a day after a person was stabbed on a New York subway train, CBS New York reported. Local police are searching for a suspect.
“It just sends shockwaves throughout the system,” Adams said Friday, referencing the attack.
It also comes after a string of crimes on the subway in recent weeks. A woman was killed last month after a man, who police said was homeless, pushed her in front of an oncoming subway train. Over a week later, a man was also shoved onto train tracks, according to CBS New York. The train was able to stop in time and the victim only suffered minor injuries.
“You can’t put a Band-Aid on a cancerous sore,” Adams said in regards to homelessness in the city. “That is not how you solve the problem. You must remove the cancer and start the healing process.”