Quality of Life

Adopt-a-Basket Program - Volunteer to help keep NYC clean!

The NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) is seeking participants for a program that will keep our streets clean. By volunteering for the Adopt-a-Basket program, you will be ensuring that a trash receptacle near you is properly maintained and will not overflow.

Here’s how it works: DSNY provides a supply of plastic liners, a collection schedule, and a direct DSNY contact at its local office. To help, monitor your litter baskets; when they are three-quarters full, remove the used plastic liners, tie them, leave them next to the basket and insert a new liner.

It’s easy to register - just visit nyc.gov/adoptabasket and sign up to help us keep New York City healthy, safe and clean.

Department of Sanitation Complaints (or call 311)

DSNY complaints.

Mediating Establishment and Neighbor Disputes (MEND)

The Mayor announced MEND NYC, a program to provide mediation to New Yorkers and hospitality businesses across the city who are in disputes over quality-of-life issues. This is a free, innovative alternative that can bring lasting solutions to longstanding local issues, which are tracked by complaints to 311.  

MEND (Mediating Establishment and Neighbor Disputes) NYC will serve hundreds of New York residents and businesses each year, creating opportunities to resolve disputes before they escalate to the need for formal enforcement, such as issuing summonses, which can add financial hardship to small businesses operating under new rules and guidelines. Mediation is a constructive conversation between people in conflict that is facilitated by an experienced, neutral third person. Mediation provides participants an opportunity to collaboratively design creative solutions and repair tense relationships. MEND will get businesses and New Yorkers to communicate directly and establish respectful ongoing dialogue, helping them to compromise and coexist. 

The Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) will administer the MEND NYC program in partnership with the Office of Nightlife at the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. OATH is the City’s central independent administrative law court where summonses issued by the City’s various enforcement agencies are filed.  Also housed in OATH is the City’s central mediation center, the Center for Creative Conflict Resolution, which has traditionally been responsible for mediating City government workplace conflict.  MEND NYC will represent the first time OATH’s Center for Creative Conflict Resolution makes its services and expertise widely available to the general public, with mediations taking place outside of the OATH court system hearing process.  OATH has professional mediators and conflict resolution trainers at its Center but OATH has also worked diligently to partner with conflict resolution groups and law schools across the City to build up a roster of trained mediators who can assist the MEND NYC program.  These mediators will be working pro bono and will help ensure that the MEND NYC program is available to all who want to participate in this free option. 

The Office of Nightlife, a non-enforcement liaison between the City and the nightlife industry and community, will be actively referring cases where there may be chronic or urgent quality of life complaints related to a restaurant, bar, or other nightlife venue. The Office of Nightlife will also provide education and support to businesses to assist with compliance and with maintaining good relationships with their neighbors.

Overflowing litter pail or basket - request for DSNY pickup

Overflowing litter pail or basket request for pickup by the Department of Sanitation (DSNY)

Report litter on a sidewalk or at a curb

Report litter on a sidewalk or at the curb. Curbs are supposed to be cleaned by the property owners to 18" from the curb. Department of Sanitation (DSNY) will issue summonses for dirty sidewalks or curbs. Summonses can only be issued during two one-hour periods (morning and afternoon) each day.

Request a City Bench

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) is installing benches around the city, particularly at bus stops, retail corridors, and in areas with high concentrations of senior citizens.

The sidewalk must be at least 12 feet wide from building to curb face for backed benches. For backless benches at bus stops, the sidewalk must be at least 14 feet wide. Other clearance requirements also apply.

Street homeless

If you see something illegal, dangerous, or someone who is a danger to themselves or others call 911 immediately. This includes lewd or inappropriate behavior such as nudity or inappropriate sexual displays.

Call 311 for non-dangerous individuals not presenting an immediate danger but clearly in need of mental health services. Be sure to obtain and retain your complaint number. In addition, if you ask to speak directly with social service providers you can direct them straight to the individual that needs assistance. This is an effective way to ensure that people living on the street get the services they need. When you direct the social service provider to someone on the street they are approached by one of the City’s service providers Common Ground or the Bowery Residents Coalition. These trained professionals engage potential clients and guide them to the services that they need to become more stable citizens and maybe even work towards transitioning out of homelessness.

Callers with smartphones can download and use the 311 app, there is a category specifically to report a homeless person. When you make a complaint you can specify “Homeless Assistance”. For a basic non-criminal homeless person use the words: Street homeless, sleeping on the street, or homeless outreach. If you are calling 311 and use the words homeless encampment or abandoned building, it will be automatically bumped to the NYPD. Community Board 6 has a dedicated committee, Community Board Housing, Homeless, and Human Rights Committee. The City of New York and the State of New York have "right to shelter" provisions. These provisions are based on case law as well as State statues. These provisions state that “the aid, care and support of the needy are public concerns and shall be provided by the state and by such of its subdivisions….”

This link to the Coalition for the Homeless’ website is a terrific resource for understanding the legal history: coalitionforthehomeless.org/our-programs/advocacy/legal-victories/the-callahan-legacy-callahan-v-carey-and-the-legal-right-to-shelter/.

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