The Inspector-General believes that efforts to communicate with the displaced at the MTA were a bust

The Inspector-General believes that efforts to communicate with the displaced at the MTA were a bust

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a devastating new report that the multimillion-dollar MTA’s efforts to reduce the number of homeless on the city’s subway was an expensive explosion.

The University’s Inspector General’s office, Caroline Bucorny, found that complaints about homeless people in the system rose after the agency last year renewed its annual $ 5 million effort to drive unprotected people out of the subway to shelters – while train delays associated with homeless people continued quickly.

A “very costly” and “very effective” program costs at least $ 2.6 million in additional time on top of the contact – but teams of 10 MTA policemen and social workers from the Bowery resident contractor committee attracted only three transients of the system to each said station At night.

IG staff wrote: “At nights, OIG staff noticed the program, and dozens of apparently homeless people remained on trains for every person who accepts services.”

Despite the MTA’s “goodwill” program, delays related to displaced people continued their upward trajectory from the first half of 2019, IG reported. Incidents involving homeless people caused 100 delays per month in January and February.

Meanwhile, complaints by a rider of the homeless jumped in August after months of decline, the inspector general said. In February, the last month of available data, the MTA received 550 complaints – almost twice the number of complaints in February 2019.

The teams began trying to persuade the displaced to leave the system at the end-of-line terminals last summer after the Como Governor announced their presence in the transport “blatant” and “the worst that ever happened”.

But the Office of the Inspector General concluded that this effort was primarily disrupted by the limited ability of the MTA to drive people out of trains and an extensive network of societal failures that increased displacement.

The Office of the Inspector-General launched its investigation after auditors from the Office of the State Comptroller Tom Dianaboli accused BRC employees of spending only 26 percent of their time communicating with the homeless – half of the time required by the company’s $ 5 million contract.

Bukorne herself went to check the situation at Grand Central and Station between last year and sent a scathing message to the agency saying that she “saw individuals searching for food in trash cans just steps from the BRC office door and the homeless people lying on the floor directly outside the BRC office.”

Ultimately, the IG investigation concluded that BRC could explain his whereabouts.

However, the MTA failed in several ways to monitor the program and had no clear understanding of what happened to the homeless if they accepted help from the BRC.

IG Group found that service providers who register homeless have achieved “placement” if they accept a wide range of services – even services that may bring them back to the subway shortly thereafter.

MTA Inspector General Caroline Bukorni at the Board Meeting in 2019.
MTA Inspector General Caroline Bukorni at the Board Meeting in 2019.Gregory Mango

The entire program was effectively suspended in May, when the MTA took an unprecedented move to shut down the system every night to evacuate the homeless and clean the trains amid the coronavirus. The agency also laid down new rules that prevent loitering at stations.

The report said IG recommended to the MTA to take a closer look at whether it is worth “spending millions annually” on this scheme when the subway is completely reopened – and it needs to provide better supervision if so.

MTA accepted IG results and pledged to change.

“We agree on the need for in-depth discussions with partner agencies before creating enforcement / awareness programs – in order to clarify roles, define performance measures, define clear goals, and assign responsibility for collecting and reporting accurate data on the impact of any program.” Sarah Feinberg, interim president of the New York City Transit, wrote.

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