New York City mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa on Wednesday decried the homeless “humanitarian crisis” at Penn Station, saying not enough is being done to tackle the problem.
The Guardian Angels founder spoke at a press conference outside the bustling terminal one day after a report by The Post highlighted the recent surge in violence in and around the station.
“This area has been Dante’s Inferno going back to the lockdown and the pandemic,” Sliwa said.
“There are men and women who have been living in the bowels of Penn Station and the outskirts for years,” he said. “They set up shop. They have couches, they have chairs, they have tables. As it’s their own personal co-op.”
At one point, Sliwa, a Republican running against Democrat Eric Adams in November’s election, was interrupted by a shirtless homeless man — and the candidate quickly cited him as an example of the dilemma plaguing Midtown.
“I’ve seen this guy here for years, predating the pandemic and the lockdown,” Sliwa said, embracing the man. “He’s homeless and emotionally disturbed persons have a ZIP code. It’s Penn Station and nothing is being done.”
Asked how he ended up living at Penn Station, the man answered, “I got lost in the wilderness,” and at one point broke down into tears.
The city’s NYC Thrive initiative does homeless outreach in Midtown, but the city does not have jurisdiction at Penn Station, which is owned by the state and run by the MTA and Amtrak.
They contract with the Bowery Residents Committee for homeless outreach services at the terminal — a program that has been repeatedly criticized as ineffective.
In a report last year, The Post noted that an outreach office at Penn Station was locked, even as homeless people slept on the floor outside.
Earlier this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a pilot program that would pair cops with social workers for non-violent mental health emergencies in the city.
This year has also seen an uptick in violence at the station, including the stray bullet shooting of a New Jersey commuter outside the terminal doors this week.