Bloomberg urges evacuation to emergency shelters, intensifies homeless outreach
Mayor Bloomberg urges Zone A residents to evacuate while it is still safe to do so; city agencies work to find and protect the homeless as well.
As the wind picks up, the mayor's office and the Department of Homeless Services are increasing their efforts to get all at-risk city residents to safety, from inhabits of the high-flood Zone A areas to homeless people who may not be fully informed about the impending weather.
At this morning's press conference, Mayor Bloomberg said he guessed that about half of the people in Zone A left as they should have, and urged the remaining residents to heed warnings and leave while it was still feasible.
Mayor Bloomberg estimated that 3,106 people are in shelters, with around 73 pets. There are 16,000 beds total in 76 different facilities, primarily in schools.
At a shelter at P.S. 154 at 250 West 127th Street in Harlem, police officers said that people had been arriving even earlier than Sunday, and speculated that the shelter currently housed around twenty individuals, "give or take."
According to the officers, some individuals were evacuated from Zone A areas, while some were homeless.
The Department of Homeless Services is still conducting outreach, driving around areas classified as Zone A. In particular, the officers reported that some people had been picked up along the East River.
"Street outreach teams have been focused, in particular, on clients in Zone A to inform them of the upcoming weather and encourage them to accept shelter," confirmed Heather Janik of the Department of Homeless Services (DHS).
According to Janik, drop-in centers will be open 24 hours a day through Tuesday.
"Clients can walk into any single adults Homeless Services facility for service and bypass the standard steps of intake or simply take shelter from the storm," Janik explained, noting that these "Code Blue" procedures will be in effect at shelters around the city through Tuesday as well.
DHS has also coordinated with the MTA Homeless Outreach Unit to reach homeless people living in subway tunnels and properly transport them to alternate housing.
"Street outreach will continue during the storm, safety permitting, as street homeless individuals are a city priority, particularly during dangerous weather," Janik added.