New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new task force Thursday to reach people living on the streets and usher them into long-term housing, The Wall Street Journal reports. Using police and City Hall resources and working block by block, the new Homeless Outreach & Mobile Engagement Street Action Team will be able to respond quickly to public reports of homeless people on the street and assign each a caseworker, Mr. de Blasio said.
The mayor has faced political heat over persistent homelessness, with more than 58,000 people in shelters and uncounted numbers living on the streets. Last month he unveiled a $3 billion effort last month to bolster the city's stock of "supportive housing" — residential units paired with social services. The new initiative won praise from advocates and charities, with Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, calling it “a step in the right direction."