Good morning, I am Bradley Brashears, Planning Manager at the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC). We were heartbroken by Michelle Go’s tragic death last week – our hearts and prayers go out to her family and loved ones. Before this tragic news, Governor Hochul and NYC Mayor Eric Adams detailed their new Safe Options Support Teams (SOS) program. We’re encouraged that the state and city are addressing this problem together and that professionals are being deployed to help those in need.
But we would like to see the MTA, state, and city take it a step further and learn from peer systems around the country on related efforts. Years ago, I learned of “Hub of Hope,” a physical space within SEPTA operated as a 501 (c)(3) by Project Home in partnership with SEPTA, the City of Philadelphia, and others. It provides a safe place for those experiencing homelessness to be connected to the city and state services they need, as well as a space to do laundry, take a shower, get a hot cup of coffee, and be treated as humans. The city and state should learn from Hub of Hope and consider creating a similar program to help those living within our transit system. In addition to a physical location, mobile vans could be used to move services from station to station.