If you walk along Essex Street in the evening, you have probably noticed the bright NYPD lights now illuminating the Schiff Fountain in Seward Park. A few readers have asked why the lights are there, so we posed the question to the 7th Precinct.
Community Affairs Officer Umberto Guardino told us yesterday the portable lights were moved into position after reports were received about larger numbers of homeless individuals congregating in this area. The precinct has also been dealing with an increase in illegal drug use in the park.
Back in September, a representative from the NYC Department of Homeless Services briefed members of Community Board 3’s parks committee about their efforts in Seward Park. The Seward Park Conservancy had brought the issue to the community board’s attention. The city rep said outreach staff routinely visit the area and offer services (including shelter). It can, however, take months or even years before services are accepted. Click here if you’d like to learn more about the city’s street outreach program.
The city administration has, of course, been struggling to come up with an effective plan to deal with the rise in homelessness. There are nearly 4,000 people living on the streets in New York City.
If you would like to discuss this or any other public safety issue with the police department, you can do it tonight at the 7th Precinct’s Community Council meeting. It takes place at 7:30 p.m. at 19 Pitt St.