In N.Y.C., a push to bring back tourists includes razing homeless encampments.

In N.Y.C., a push to bring back tourists includes razing homeless encampments.


As New York City strives to lure back tourists and office workers, it has undertaken an aggressive campaign to push homeless people off the streets of Manhattan.

City workers used to tear down one or two encampments a day. Now, they sometimes clear dozens. Since late May, teams that include sanitation workers in garbage trucks, police officers and outreach workers have cruised Manhattan around the clock, hitting the same spots over and over.

The sweeps are part of a broader effort by Mayor Bill de Blasio that includes transferring more than 8,000 people from hotels, where they had been placed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, to barracks-style group shelters.

The transfers are continuing despite the recent surge in the Delta variant, though the city told a judge that it would delay the moves on Monday to address concerns that it was not adequately considering people’s health problems and disabilities.

The city is also responding to months of complaints about homeless people blocking public spaces, menacing passers-by and committing assaults. On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, whose administration has slashed aid for addressing homelessness, cited the problem as one of the main hurdles to the city’s recovery.

The debate over how to tackle homelessness in New York City, where more than 2,000 people live on the streets and the subway, comes as cities across the country grapple with growing encampments.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council outlawed camping near parks, libraries and schools. On Saturday, a national eviction moratorium expired, spurring fears of a new surge in homelessness, though in New York the moratorium continues through Aug. 31.

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