500 hypodermic needles found at NYC homeless encampment

500 hypodermic needles were recently discovered at one homeless encampment that was dismantled in New York City as the Adams administration continues to remove the makeshift shelters from the streets.

"Look at this," said Mayor Eric Adams pointing to a photo of the encampment at City Hall. "500 hypodermic needles. 500. Living like this? This is the condition a fellow New Yorker was living. I'm supposed to allow this to stay? I'm supposed to act like I don't see this? This is dignity? This is how we treat fellow New Yorkers?"

The city is removing180 homeless encampments across the city over the next two weeks in an effort to move the homeless into shelters. Their removal has come under criticism for not addressing the root cause of homelessness and simply moving people to another place.

"You have the right to sleep on the street. You do not have the right to build a miniature house," added Adams.

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In its most recent estimate in January 2021, the city said about 1,100 people were living in parks and on the streets — a number seen by many advocates as an undercount. Most of the roughly 50,000 homeless people in the city stay in shelters.

The city is encouraging the homeless to go inside Safe Haven shelters that have more than 1,200 beds and more than 680 stabilization beds.

Each person gets their own bed, toiletries, and a locker. There's a laundry room, clean showers, and a dining facility with free meals and snacks. Plus, there's a federally qualified healthcare center on-site. 

A notice is posted 24 hours before the removal. The items removed from the encampments are tagged and can be retrieved by their owners.  All of the removals made thus far were video recorded.

"Do we wait until they create a crime or do we go find them and give them the help they need?" said Adams.