Chinatown killings focus spotlight on New York's homeless

By Belinda Robinson in New York | China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-15 07:41
A homeless man sleeps on the street in San Francisco, California, in August. [JEFF CHIU/AP]

Appeal made for more affordable housing

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio acted quickly after four homeless men were beaten to death earlier this month by an attacker wielding a metal pipe nearly 1 meter long in the city's Chinatown district.

A fifth person was left seriously injured.

De Blasio said the city would provide additional social services for the homeless in the area and increase security measures.

"What happened shakes the conscience of who we are as New Yorkers," he said in a statement. "We are sending experts to the neighborhood to provide support during this difficult time and will continue to assess how to prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future."

Randy Santos, 24, was arrested on Oct 6 by New York police and charged with murder and attempted murder. Police said Santos is homeless himself.

City councilwoman Margaret Chin, who represents Chinatown, called on the mayor to create more affordable housing specifically for the homeless.

"This senseless and devastating act of violence against the most vulnerable members of our community must serve as a wake-up call. We must do more than the bare minimum to help the tens of thousands of New Yorkers in our homeless shelters and on our streets," she said in a statement.

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