[Comptroller Scott M. Stringer at a vigil for the victims this morning]
The shocking murders of four homeless men early Saturday morning in Chinatown have brought more media attention to the dangers of living on the street.
In a story published in today's paper, the Times provides historical context for the area around the Bowery in which the men were killed.
[T]he Bowery, an area of Lower Manhattan known in the 1930s as New York’s skid row, has long served as a daunting example of the city’s difficulties in addressing street homelessness. If anything, the problem is getting worse: The area is now drawing younger homeless people, many with drug and mental health problems, a population that the city’s traditional outreach methods have struggled to confront.
Despite the luxurification of the Bowery and surrounding area in recent years, the area — specifically Community District 3 — still has one of the highest concentrations of homeless shelters (some two dozen) in Manhattan.
The article discusses the ongoing concerns "about a new subpopulation within the homeless community."
A recent report described them as “travelers” or “young homeless people who travel to destinations depending on the weather, and often include instances of drug use and aggression.”
Over the past three years, complaints have increased about these younger arrivals, and the police and homeless outreach workers have said that “traditional outreach is not successful with this population,” according to the report.
The article includes comments from local community leaders on the need for better mental health services and additional supportive housing and safe-haven beds. Find the article at this link.
In court yesterday, the suspect, 24-year-old Rodriguez “Randy” Santos, was charged with four counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.
Meanwhile, city officials say they will dispatch mental health outreach teams and increase the number of homeless outreach teams who have access to psychiatrists and substance abuse resources, per ABC 7.
The Times says that the homelessness crisis "has been the most intractable problem of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s tenure."