New York City Overhauling Security at Homeless Shelters

New York City is upgrading security at its homeless shelters, with an emphasis on preventing violence.

Among other things, the city will re-establish a domestic violence program that ended in 2010. A new analysis finds that domestic violence is the most common form of shelter violence.

The New York Police Department will retrain all security staff at the Department of Homeless Services. There also will be a more extensive reporting system for shelter incidents.

Mayor de Blasio said Tuesday that his administration intends to "own the challenges of homelessness."

The overhaul follows a year of violent, headline-grabbing crimes.

Last month, a man allegedly stabbed his girlfriend and two of her children to death at a Staten Island hotel that serves as a homeless shelter. One of the children who was stabbed was the man's daughter.

In January, a former school teacher was slashed to death by a man he was sharing a room with at a shelter in East Harlem, according to police. 

That month, de Blasio announced a new plan to identify and fix problems with the sprawling system.

“I don't want anyone refusing to come into a homeless shelter because of bad conditions," he said.

De Blasio was criticized by Gov. Cuomo in his January State of the State address. The governor said that the mayor wasn’t doing enough about homelessness as he proposed $20 billion to address the problem.

In December, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer deplored conditions at the city's homeless shelters after a Department of Investigations audit found homeless families living amid rodents, mold, peeling paint and broken windows.

Approximately 58,000 people are in the shelters. An additional 3,000 to 4,000 people are estimated to be living on city streets.

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