BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — The mayor’s office is tackling domestic violence in the city’s public housing developments with the rollout of a new program in select neighborhoods.
The NYCHA Domestic Violence Response Team (NYCHA DVRT), an initiative of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, began accepting clients from Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Tompkins Houses this week in an effort to link residents to city services.
The program, announced in November, includes a 10-member team that will focus on early intervention and prevention for high-risk clients throughout 15 NYCHA developments in the five boroughs, including Brownsville, Van Dyke, Queensbridge and Stapleton.
The overall goal is to increase safety and inspire neighborhood cohesion as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $210.5 million citywide plan focusing on crime-reduction in the specific developments, according to Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, the agency’s commissioner.
“Knowing that domestic violence is an issue within some of the developments, we felt that developing a response team solely dedicated to connecting them to services was critical,” Pierre-Louis told DNAinfo New York.
The authority also offers housing priority for victims and intimidated witnesses.
Domestic violence was responsible for 73 percent of the uptick in crime in NYCHA over the last three years, according to city officials. While less than 5 percent of New York City residents live in the housing developments, 14 percent of all citywide domestic violence-related major felonies occurred in them in 2014.
A significant number of cases often go unreported, de Blasio said in an earlier statement, with only a quarter of citywide victims reaching out to police in 2013.
Through the NYCHA domestic violence program, “community liaisons” will conduct outreach and education at subway stations, parks, playgrounds and busy intersections and continue to build relationships with local groups to raise awareness.
Victims will be linked to specialists at the city’s Family Justice Centers, where they can recieve supportive services such as case management and safety planning, along with immigration law and counseling.
The $800,000 initiative also provided training for NYCHA staff, in which more than 700 members learned to identify at-risk residents and early signs of abuse.
For more information on the program, call 212-788-2602 or email DVRTinfo@cityhall.nyc.gov.