NYC Mayor Eric Adams calls controversial homeless initiative a success 1 year later

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
New York City Mayor Adams details homeless initiative one year later
N.J. Burkett spoke with Mayor Adams on how the initiative to help those battling mental health and homelessness is going one year after its inception.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- One year since the start of a controversial homeless initiative, New York City Mayor Eric Adams is announcing 54 chronically homeless people experiencing severe mental illness were removed from the streets.

The 54 homeless people were moved into stable housing settings or medical centers in the year since the mayor announced the controversial program to involuntarily hospitalize homeless people.

Additionally, hundreds of additional New Yorkers living on city streets believed to have untreated severe mental illness have been connected to hospitals for evaluations.

On Wednesday, Adams also announced that homeless outreach staff have referred 70% more people experiencing street homelessness to shelter this year over last year and have moved approximately 1,000 people from Safe Haven and stabilization beds to permanent housing.

Ahead of this winter, the city is launching intensified street outreach efforts to help all New Yorkers living on the streets move to safer, healthier indoor conditions.

"One year ago, we made a commitment to New Yorkers that the days of ignoring the mental health crisis playing out on our streets were over," Adams said. "I'm proud that a year into this effort, we have made progress helping and housing a significant number of those most in need of care and support. We're investing in training first responders, bringing psychiatric beds online, and strengthening inter-agency coordination - and the early results show what's possible when we lean into the most challenging cases with engagement, compassion, and support. While we're encouraged by the early results, we look forward to working with our partners in Albany to pass the Supportive Interventions Act, as well as engaging even more New Yorkers and providing them with the help they so desperately need. We will not abandon New Yorkers in need, and we're committed to getting this right so all New Yorkers can live, work, thrive, and be safe."

"Today's announcement is a product of work over more than a year to bring hope and support to New Yorkers struggling with severe mental illness," said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. "Over that time, we have helped people transition into stable housing, receive care for their mental health and other conditions, and connect them with supports to achieve a more dignified life. Every person we have supported has friends, family, or loved ones that can now witness them in a safe, stable place receiving the care they need. While we know there are many more out there that need support, we come together today to recognize the incredible inter-agency work that has made this all possible and to affirm that this work will continue to help New Yorkers in need."

Over the past year, the city says they have made progress by:

- Bringing more psychiatric beds online

- Improving communication between first responders and NYC Health + Hospitals

- Training clinicians and first responders

- Implementing data collection processes

- Piloting Joint Response Teams

- Introducing state legislation: The Supportive Interventions Act scales up the city's efforts and takes aim at several legal barriers to psychiatric crisis care and crisis avoidance.

- Progress supporting New Yorkers experiencing unsheltered homelessness

The city is opening 270 Safe Haven and stabilization beds and ramping up training for outreach staff, including collaborative training for clinical staff with DSS, DOHMH, and H+H. Additionally, the city will open a new, hybrid low-barrier program right by one of the city's busiest end-of-line subway stations. This hybrid model will serve both as a Drop-In Center and stabilization bed site. It is scheduled to open in the coming weeks in Queens.

(Information provided by City of New York)


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