In Manhattan, Daily Sweeps Target Homeless New Yorkers

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A key piece of New York City’s economic recovery from the pandemic, many experts and city leaders contend, will be the return of office workers and tourists to Manhattan. As officials seek to secure that recovery, they have increasingly sought to clear the population of homeless people off the borough’s streets.

On some days, city workers clear dozens of encampments. Advocates said that the sweeps are doing harm by upending homeless residents’ lives through aggressive tactics that discourage people from seeking or accepting the city’s help.

“They are trying to make life so miserable on the streets that people will come into shelters, but that is a cruel and ineffective approach,” said Josh Dean, the founder of Human.nyc, a policy group focused on street homelessness.

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