The city’s subway stations with the worst ongoing vagrancy problems saw homelessness spike nearly 45 percent over the summer, the MTA’s safety chief revealed Monday.
The eight stations — all but one in Manhattan — were being used as living quarters by an average of 14.7 people in August, up from 10.2 homeless people in May, MTA Chief Safety Officer Patrick Warren said.
The stations comprise some of the city’s busiest commuter hubs, including Grand Central Terminal, Penn Station the Port Authority bus terminal and Lexington Avenue/59th Street, Warren said during a monthly meeting of the MTA’s Safety Committee in Manhattan.
The others are tourist landmarks Times Square and Union Square, as well as Manhattan’s Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.
All of the stations ranked in the 98th percentile of those occupied by homeless people seeking shelter, Warren said
Warren said transit officials began conducting their own counts because data from the annual tallies conducted by the city each winter is “not usable.”
“This is a data-driven approach to understanding where the homeless are and how we can support them, provide outreach to that at-risk group,” he said.
“We can use our scarce resources by targeting them using information like this.”
Surveys at the MTA’s end-of-line stations, where vagrants tend to congregate overnight — showed that Stillwell Avenue and Flatbush Avenue/Brooklyn College in Brooklyn were the most populated, with an average of three people at each stop April 1 and Aug. 31.