Mayor de Blasio visits Homeless Joint Command Center in New York City

LOWER MANHATTAN (WABC) -- To address the most challenging cases of unsheltered homelessness, New York City recently opened a Homelessness Joint Command Center in Lower Manhattan.

The logic is simple: get multiple agencies in one room, working together, to monitor street conditions and provide help in real-time to those who need it the most.

Thursday afternoon Mayor Bill de Blasio took his first tour of the command center on Beaver Street.

The mayor's 6- Point Action Plan started about two months ago and, for the first time, brings together police, homeless outreach, sanitation, and many other departments all working together 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days of the year.

Homelessness is a big issue, and many previous efforts were futile.

"We had to find something that worked," Gov. Cuomo said.

Yesterday the governor promised a record amount of money to combat homelessness, but he also seemed to take a dig at the city.

"We will also honor the state's constitution and demand a higher level of competence and skill and professionalism from local governments," Cuomo said.

The mayor contends his latest program is working. In the last 2 1/2 years, the city has moved 2,450 homeless people from the streets to permanent shelters. This command center is the latest in that effort.

The governor believes this initiative can prevent people from living on the streets for years to come.

The joint command center takes calls from 3-1-1 and monitors dozens of police cameras. When problem spots are found, the command center will deploy outreach teams to that area.

"We do know this. The number of people on the streets is starting to go down. We do know the number of people in shelters is starting to go down," De Blasio said.

In the last count, about 60,000 are in shelters. Another 3,600 on the street.

The street homeless population is the main focus, with the mayor promising in a few years New Yorkers could see almost no homeless people on the streets at all.

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