New York City is deploying additional resources and outreach to help support the homeless population in Chinatown.
Mayor de Blasio announced Monday that city officials are planning on providing additional social services and increasing security in the area. The decision comes days after a local man went on a killing spree in Chinatown, targeting and killing four homeless people, beating them to death with a pipe as they slept. A fifth victim survived, and was taken to a hospital for treatment.
“What happened over the weekend shakes the conscience of who we are as New Yorkers,” de Blasio said. “We are sending experts to the neighborhood to provide support during this difficult time, and will continue to assess how to prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future.”
Randy Santos, 24, was arrested Saturday and charged with four counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, said New York City Police Department spokesman Martin Brown. The motive for the gruesome attack is unknown.
Wellington Chen, Executive Director Chinatown Partnership, said in a press release, “As New Yorkers, we are deeply saddened and shaken to the core by the senseless brutal killing of fellow human beings on the streets of Chinatown. It once again highlights the importance of mental health and the need for proper diagnosis and treatment to deal with serious deep-seated issues. We exist to help one another, let the process and the healing begin.”
To help protect the homeless community, New York is dispatching mental health outreach teams via the Department of Health and Thrive to the Chinatown area. Additionally, NYPD has deployed additional officers to the area.
The homeless outreach will be increased as well. HOME-STAT teams will help engage homeless individuals and see what underlying issues caused them to be on the street and help them transition off the street. A press release states that these teams have access to:
· Licensed clinicians who work with clients on the streets, provide on-going case management and assess each individual for immediate risk/crisis during each encounter
· Psychiatrists who perform psychiatric evaluations on the streets, as needed, helping understand and how better to meet the individual needs of each street homeless New Yorker
· Substance use resources, including ability to immediately connect individuals to detox and other rehabilitation programs—and are trained in naloxone administration
State Senator Brian Kavanagh said in a press release that, “This is a cruel tragedy and a sad, terrible reminder that far too many people are living on our streets,”
Kavanagh added, “New York City is facing a homelessness crisis, a horrible effect of many of our society’s failings and inhumanities. I commend Mayor Bill de Blasio for promptly committing additional resources to the Chinatown area. In the coming days, we will be assessing what more can be done locally. And throughout New York, we must redouble our efforts to provide housing and shelter and to get people the help they need with substance abuse, health, and mental health problems—all of which can be a contributing cause to homelessness and can be exacerbated by not having a stable place to live. I will work diligently with my colleagues in city and state government to find better solutions.”