For years earlier than Jordan Neely, a mentally ailing homeless man, was killed within the subway, town had its eye on him.

He was on an inventory informally generally known as the High 50, a roster of individuals in a metropolis of eight million who stand out for the severity of their troubles and their resistance to accepting assist. The record is overseen by a process power of metropolis company staff and social-service nonprofits; when homeless-outreach staff see somebody who’s on the record, in some circumstances they’re alleged to notify town and attempt to get that individual to a shelter.

Regardless of that, and an open arrest warrant, Mr. Neely was out on his personal on Might 1, when he started ranting at passengers. A Marine veteran, Daniel Penny, grabbed him and choked him to demise; Mr. Penny has now been charged with manslaughter.

Within the wake of Mr. Neely’s demise, the administration of Mayor Eric Adams has been criticized by advocates for homeless individuals and left-leaning political opponents who say the killing highlights deep issues within the metropolis’s help techniques for homeless individuals and people with psychological sickness.

At a information convention on Thursday, Councilwoman Pierina Sanchez, referring to Mr. Neely’s presence on the record, stated: “Our metropolis knew precisely who Jordan was, the place he was and what his historical past was. And but we failed him.”

However as officers describe it, the duty power and the High 50 record had been shaped exactly for the individuals whom the system had failed again and again. The demise of Mr. Neely, 30, who had been homeless for years, additionally reveals the boundaries of the instruments the duty power has at its disposal and the issue of holding observe of people who find themselves transient and elusive, not to mention getting them to simply accept assist.

In a speech this week, Mr. Adams known as the group that maintains the record “the guiding power” behind town’s efforts to assist individuals like Mr. Neely “stabilize and heal from the ravages of homelessness and long-term, untreated psychosis.”

The aim of the record is to attach disparate bureaucracies throughout an enormous metropolis, through which a gaggle of individuals with intense wants recurrently interacts with hospital personnel, avenue social staff and law enforcement officials who don’t recurrently work together with one another.

The individuals on the record are among the many metropolis’s “most entrenched and power sufferers,” the mayor’s senior adviser for extreme psychological sickness, Brian Stettin, stated in an interview, and are mentioned at weekly conferences of the duty power.

The group that displays the record, identified formally because the Coordinated Behavioral Well being Job Pressure, consists of staff from throughout metropolis authorities, together with the departments of Well being, Homeless Providers and Hospitals, together with representatives of the nonprofits that town contracts with to attempt to join homeless individuals to shelter and companies, a course of generally known as outreach.

On the weekly conferences, Mr. Stettin stated, process power members alternate updates on the individuals on the record — “what their present wants appear to be” and in some circumstances “how their situations have modified to the purpose the place now we have to start out occupied with other ways we are able to method their circumstances.”

High 50 is a little bit of a misnomer. The record doesn’t have a hard and fast variety of individuals on it, and there are literally two lists — one for individuals who sometimes keep within the subways and one for individuals who keep within the streets. Folks may be taken off the record for any variety of causes, together with transferring into housing or going to jail.

Mr. Neely was on the subway record, based on an worker of the Bowery Residents’ Committee, a gaggle that has town contract to do outreach within the subways.

Outreach staff within the subways are alleged to be conversant in all of the names on the subway record, stated the Bowery Residents’ Committee worker, who spoke anonymously as a result of they weren’t licensed to publicly focus on the matter.

After they encounter somebody who’s on it, the worker stated, they’re alleged to notify the Division of Homeless Providers, which might prepare transport to a sort of shelter generally known as a secure haven. Secure havens have fewer guidelines and restrictions than barrackslike group shelters and are sometimes extra interesting to the homeless individuals who sometimes keep away from shelters.

For individuals on the road model of the record, which in early Might included about 65 individuals, being on it could actually get somebody badly wanted companies extra rapidly, stated Juan Rivera, the outreach director for BronxWorks, which has town contract to do avenue outreach within the Bronx.

Mr. Rivera described a person who had been staying at a BronxWorks secure haven, damaged some home windows in a rage and left for the streets. BronxWorks had him added to the High 50 record, which allowed him to leap up the wait record to develop into a shopper of a avenue squad of clinicians generally known as an Intensive Cell Remedy workforce.

Working with the cellular remedy workforce, the person regained stability and has moved into everlasting housing, Mr. Rivera stated.

“He’s nonetheless related along with his workforce, and he’s doing rather well,” he stated.

As for Mr. Neely, he had been a fixture for years within the subway system — first in his teenagers and 20s as a gifted Michael Jackson impersonator who captivated commuters along with his fluent moonwalking, and later, as he tumbled into psychological sickness and drug abuse, as a matted and sporadically violent man who racked up repeated arrests and journeys to hospitals. Mr. Neely was on the record in 2019, when it was launched, and remained on it till his demise, based on the Bowery Residents’ Committee worker.

In February, Mr. Neely, who had been in jail on an assault cost for punching a 67-year-old girl and breaking a number of bones in her face, was launched to a residential remedy program, underneath a plea deal that required him to keep away from bother for 15 months, keep on antipsychotic remedy and never abuse medication.

Two weeks later, he walked out of the ability and didn’t return, and the arrest warrant was issued.

In March, Mr. Neely was approached by homeless-outreach staff at a subway station in Manhattan. He was neatly dressed and calm and accepted a experience to a shelter within the Bronx the place he spent the evening, based on outreach information shared with The New York Occasions.

However on April 8, when outreach staff discovered him at an end-of-the-line station in Coney Island, Mr. Neely, sporting soiled garments riddled with burn holes, uncovered himself and urinated inside a subway automobile, based on the notes shared with The Occasions.

Outreach staff, whose job requires them to win the belief of people that search to keep away from contact with the authorities, sometimes don’t test for warrants, however they summoned the police, who ejected him from the station.

The police had been additionally apparently unaware of the warrant. A program launched in 2019 through which the police did warrant checks on individuals caught violating transit-system guidelines was deserted through the pandemic, after criticism that it was criminalizing homelessness.

The employees in Coney Island discovered solely the following day that the individual that they had met was a person on the High 50 record, case notes present.

A notice later filed by an outreach employee in regards to the encounter reads prophetically: “Attributable to shopper’s aggressive conduct, he might be a hurt to others or himself if left untreated and never assessed by a psychological well being skilled.”

Beneath a directive issued by Mr. Adams final fall, people who find themselves in such a extreme state of psychological disaster that they’re a hazard to themselves or to others are alleged to be taken to a hospital for analysis, involuntarily if essential.

Finish-of-the-line subway outreach groups sometimes embrace nurses who work for town and are educated to do area assessments of individuals and have them transported to hospitals. Outreach notes don’t point out whether or not a nurse evaluated Mr. Neely at Coney Island.

Mr. Neely had been hospitalized involuntarily previously, however doesn’t seem to have been over the last months of his life.

Lauren McCarthy contributed reporting.