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New York State Agency Orders Investigation and Enhancement of Security Measures at 53rd Street Homeless Shelter

Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance issues letter requiring increased security presence at site of weekend stabbing, and full assessment into adequacy of security protocols.

February 1, 2016 - The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) today announced that it is requiring New York City to take a series of actions to increase and ensure the safety of residents at the 53rd St. Men’s Shelter in Manhattan. This includes immediately increasing security and law enforcement presence at the facility, and conducting a thorough investigation, to be shared with the state, into whether the facility’s security protocols are inadequate, and what improvements are needed if so to protect the well-being of people residing in the shelter.

“The violence at homeless shelters in recent days is truly disturbing – and we must be sure that gaps in security are being identified and addressed,” said OTDA Commissioner Samuel D. Roberts. “People who need shelter should be able to turn to these facilities without fearing for their lives, and these requirements will help make that a reality at this location.” 
  
The requirements are detailed in a letter today from OTDA to the New York City Human Resource Administration, which can be viewed here.

First, New York City is being required to bolster the security presence at the 53rd St. shelter immediately. Additionally, the New York City Department of Homeless Services must take a series of actions within 24 hours – those actions are:

  • Conduct an assessment into the adequacy of security protocols at the facility, explaining why they either are or are not sufficient to protect residents, and detail any necessary improvements. This should specifically include search procedures by security personnel, as well as the effectiveness of metal detectors and common area cameras.
  • Determine the average ratio of security officer to residents, as well as the number of DHS Peace Officers present per shift.
  • Provide copies of pertinent reports relating to this weekend’s incidents as soon as they are available.

 

These requirements follow the reported stabbing of a resident at the 53rd St. facility on Saturday, Jan. 30. The state also required similar actions of the city following the killing of Deven Black at the Boulevard Shelter on Jan. 27.

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