New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a plan to crack down on homeless people sheltering in the subway system, USA Today reports. Adams acted after the death of Michelle Go, who was pushed in front of an oncoming train by a homeless man. Amid a wave a stabbings on the subway system. Adams and other advocates say that a combination of police and social worker presence that can connect the homeless to city services is needed. Some homeless advocates believe that the plan will lead to a trend of criminalization that will leave many nonviolent homeless people in jail or facing fines that they have no way to pay. They also balked at Adams' characterization of the problem as a "cancerous sore."
Adams has been adamant that enforcement will not be heavy-handed. He called for removal of all riders at "end of the line" stations and aggressive enforcement of the subway system's code of conduct, which provides that the city may fine people who smoke, litter, evade fares, and use multiple seats. Adams has advocated for more robust use of New York's Kendra's Law, which requires court-ordered outpatient treatment for some people experiencing serious mental illness who refuse care. He stresses that most homeless people are not violent and that his plan calls for 30 teams made up of police, health, and homeless service workers to connect homeless people with services, which he plans to bolster. Adams' plan includes adding 500 temporary beds for the homeless as well as an expansion of a pilot program to divert some 911 calls for mental health crises to non-police response teams. Advocates for the homeless argue that these measures are not enough, and that inefficient stopgaps in homeless services will lead to more homeless people in the criminal justice system.