Adams’ homeless sweeps have hit hundreds of camps – only 5 people have taken shelter

An attempt to clear hundreds of homeless encampments across New York City has resulted in just five people accepting beds at a city shelter, Mayor Eric Adams said Wednesday.

So far, city officials said the city has removed 239 bins out of 244, mostly located in Manhattan.

Adams said that while the number who had taken refuge was small, he hoped it would increase over time as city workers built trust in the homeless. The last destocking started on March 18th. The mayor said he didn’t have a total number of people the city had contacted who were living in camps.

He cited a similar effort for the city’s subway system that began in February and has since resulted in more than 300 people accepting shelter and city services.

“When we ran the transit initiative, we only had 22 people accepting services,” Adams said during a press briefing at City Hall. “We’re rebuilding trust in the city.”

Details about the initiative come as the mayor faces harsh criticism from advocates who say policing and clearing camps is inhumane and only serves to disperse the homeless to other locations. Adams isn’t the first mayor to pull off this kind of sweep. Under Mayor Bill de Blasio, the city was also targeting camps, with about 150 searches per week for the last six months of 2021, according to data obtained through freedom of information requests from the Urban Justice Center safety net project.

The mayor stood under the city rotunda and was flanked by nearly a dozen city officials — including NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell — whose agencies were involved in clearing out homeless camps.

About 48,000 people live in shelters in New York City, while about 2,400 live on the streets, according to the city’s most recent data.

Adams was defiant, saying he was fixing the government “dysfunction” that had failed New Yorkers by allowing them to live in dirt on the streets. He made a similar argument on Tuesday when he announced the introduction of 350 new emergency shelters.

On Wednesday, the mayor spoke to reporters surrounded by enlarged photos showing a before and after shot of a cleared camp. Another showed hundreds of hypodermic needles scattered around.

“Is that dignity?” he said, referring to the photo. Adams’ homeless sweeps have hit hundreds of camps – only 5 people have taken shelter

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