Environment and Energy, Features, Finance, Health and Safety, Law and Politics, Municipal Government, New York, Transportation

MTA Not Addressing Homelessness

July 24, 2019

By Stephanie West

NEW YORK, NY – The number of homeless men and woman on trains and live at bothboth Penn Station and Grand Central continue to increase. 

“Straphangers and commuters can see firsthand that homelessness is a growing problem in the transit system, but the MTA is not doing enough to oversee its own outreach program,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. “The nonprofit the MTA hired has turned away homeless men and women seeking assistance. Some outreach workers spent more time in the office than reaching out and filed inaccurate and unreliable outreach reports. The MTA is not getting what it paid for and riders and the homeless are suffering for it.”

Since 2010, the MTA has contracted with the nonprofit Bowery Residents’ Committee (BRC) to provide homeless services at Penn Station, Grand Central, and outlying Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Metro-North stations. The contract calls for BRC to conduct homeless counts, outreach and placement, and report to the MTA daily, weekly and monthly. BRC’s reports are used in the MTA’s Homeless Outreach Program (HOP) database.

DiNapoli’s auditors found that BRC was only doing a fraction of the work it is required to do under its contract. The MTA officials told auditors they expect BRC workers to spend most of their time — 4-5 hours per 8.5 hour shift — performing outreach services. DiNapoli’s auditors found workers at Penn Station, Grand Central and other MTA rail stations spent, on average, 2.2 hours per shift doing outreach. They spent the bulk of their time — 4.5 hours on average — in the office.

July 24, 2019

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