February 14, 2021

Statement by The Partnership for the Homeless on Weekend Violence on the Subways

New York, NY)— The Partnership for the Homeless issued the following statement following this weekend’s multiple attacks against people experiencing homelessness who were on city subways:

“Our deepest condolences go out to the friends and family members of the New Yorkers who lost their lives in these vicious attacks, and to the other victims of these brutal attacks.

Once family members are notified, we urge authorities to share the victims’ names, as they would for any other New Yorkers who lost their lives in this way, so that we may grieve our fellow New Yorkers with dignity and respect. Experiencing homelessness is not their identity.

As New Yorkers rightly look for answers in the wake of this tragedy, and the City has announced deploying 500 extra cops to the subway system, we may all find ourselves thinking back to a similar deadly attack on four New Yorkers on October 5, 2019, and inquire if previous responses of deploying extra cops has worked? When we can predict stories of this nature, perhaps we have the opportunity to rethink the response and focus instead on prevention and proven solutions.

New Yorkers experiencing homelessness who turn to the subway system for refuge do so not just to escape the cold, but to momentarily rest and sleep in the safety of being surrounded by other people. Instead of assigning extra cops, we need trained mental health and outreach professionals trained to connect with and support those with chronic mental health needs and/or who are experiencing homelessness, to find appropriate supportive housing and healthcare. To ensure their success, we need the City and State to immediately and sufficiently invest in these proven remedies.

Sadly, yet hopefully, we know the events of this weekend are preventable. We know the solutions. The only remaining question is when we will choose to implement them.”

About The Partnership for the Homeless
The Partnership for the Homeless seeks to solve homelessness by preventing it with robust programming for New Yorkers at-risk of or experiencing homelessness—now and for future generations. Our work is putting the building blocks in place to address immediate housing needs, create stability through important health interventions, disrupt generational homelessness, and change the public narrative about homelessness. Learn more at www.partnershipforthehomeless.org.