Jordan Neely Was on 'Top 50' Risk List Overseen by City's Own Task Force
As the ongoing saga surrounding Jordan Neely, Daniel Penny, and a tragic subway encounter rages on, more and more details have begun trickling out providing critical context to the entire controversy.
One such bit of context regarding Neely, the homeless man who was subdued by Penny and ultimately died, has recently surfaced, and it adds a curious new wrinkle to the entire ordeal.
Multiple outlets, including the New York Times, are reporting that Neely wasn’t just some random homeless vagabond, but a known and documented risk to New York City.
Neely was on an informal list known as the “Top 50,” a list that purportedly documents the people in New York City who are particularly troubled or at-risk — and also resistant to any sort of help.
The Times notes that, despite being called the “Top 50,” the actual number can vary. In fact, there are two iterations of this “Top 50” list — one for at-risk people who stay on the streets and one for at-risk people who stay in the subways.
Neely was reportedly on the subway list.
“The list is overseen by a task force of city agency workers and social-service nonprofits; when homeless-outreach workers see someone who is on the list, in some cases they are supposed to notify the city and try to get that person to a shelter,” the Times’ Andy Newman wrote.
WPIX reported that this list is compiled by the Department of Homeless Services. The outlet also reported that a DHS affiliate confirmed the existence of such a list and noted that it focuses on people who bounce around government outreach programs. For example, people on the “Top 50” list may suffer from severe mental health issues or be in and out of jail.
The DHS commissioner, Molly Wasow Park, appeared a tad bit annoyed that this list was even being reported on.
“It’s certainly not a published list,” Park told WPIX.
She added: “The concept of the Top 50 is a way for us to focus on this inter-agency collaborative case management and do it in a way that is meeting the needs of very, very high-need individuals.”
So if Neeley were on this list and was a “very, very high-need individual,” why was he freely roaming the subways of New York and allegedly threatening people?
That appears to be the key question based on this new revelation of Neely’s place on the “Top 50.”
The Times noted that the “goal” of the list was to help better connect largely separated government bureaucracies — hospital workers, social workers and police officers, for example — on matters involving troubled people who frequently meet any of those aforementioned government workers.
If that’s the case, an argument could certainly be made that the city failed Neely far more than Penny did.
Speaking of Penny, the Marine Corps veteran has been the recipient of an outpouring of support from people who felt that he had done nothing wrong in the wake of Neely’s purported subway outbursts.
Penny’s supporters have already helped raise over $1 million for his pending legal battles.
CORRECTION, May 15, 2023: Daniel Penny is a veteran of the Marine Corps. An earlier version of this article included a different description of his service.
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