Street Encampments

The Story

One-person homeless encampments have become a familiar site on New York sidewalks. Taking advantage of empty storefronts or ubiquitous scaffolding, many of the city’s street homeless pile their belongings in heaps, to the dismay of local residents. It’s not against the law to be homeless, but the city must find an effective way to deal with a growing problem: homeless people’s use of public space as open-air storage units.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Value? Spending on homeless services has increased by 70% under Mayor de Blasio, while the problem of homelessness has gotten steadily worse. Read more.

  2. Rough: Street homelessness has increased by 39% in just one year, according to the city’s own HOPE count. Read more.

  3. Sidewalks: Citizens trying to deal with street encampments find that no city agency will take charge of the problem. Read more.

“History teaches that aggressive vagrancy can be managed, if not eliminated, but that left unchecked it overpowers public spaces, encourages petty crime, and degrades the quality of municipal life.”

Bob McManus, City Journal contributing editor

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

Homeless Follies (Continued) By David Schoenbrod and Ross Sandler (Winter 1995)

“The right to immediate housing undercuts the incentive of the homeless to uphold their end of the social contract.”

Scheduling Note


In observance of the Columbus Day holiday, The Beat will resume on Wednesday, October 11.

And in other news...

“Thirty people were charged Tuesday with using forged placards to park their luxury cars in spots throughout the five boroughs, including ones reserved for handicapped people and commercial drivers, law enforcement officials said.”