NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As the New York City homeless problem
persists, passengers have been encountering crowds of people camped outside Penn Station.
As CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported, Penn Station commuters said the city needs to do something.
Annette Woods is a frequent visitor to the city from Trenton, New Jersey, and she loves New York City – she even wears an “I love NY” T-shirt. But she said she would rather not be hassled for cash by the homeless people who are hunched over and camped out in the doorway.
“Not clean,” Woods said, “and they need food, shelter or, place or a job.”
“It’s sad, but that’s the reality here, and it’s part of the city,” said Kinneret Ladizinsky of Canada.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s refrain has been that when the city sees an uptick of homeless people in a particular spot, police officers or outreach workers are sent to check things out.
“To the point that we really know, in the vast majority of cases, their name, their history, why they say they’re there, what they might be willing to consider as a reason to get off the streets,” Mayor de Blasio said.
But those who seemingly have made the pavement outside Penn Station their permanent address said there are worse places to be. There is a lot of shade available during the sweltering summer, and one man said it is a good spot to make a little money.
“The empty bottles make economy for me,” said Al-Zamil Yamatazu.
When he spoke to Layton on Monday, Yamatazu said he had gotten about $30 in cans and bottles from the tourists and professionals passing through. He added that the streets can be better than the shelters.
“I think that people feel safer here,” he said.
But some travelers do not feel safe around the homeless.
“I’m more scared than anything,” one woman said.
The woman said she does feel for the homeless, but like most who spoke to CBS2, she said the city must do more to solve the problem.
The city said it will be sending more outreach teams to offer help to people on the streets in extreme heat.