Coalition for the Homeless’ Statement on Mayor Adams’ Mental Health Address and Legislative Agenda

NEW YORK, November 29, 2022 – The following statement can be attributed to Jacquelyn Simone, Policy Director for the Coalition for the Homeless:

“Mayor Adams continues to get it wrong when it comes to his reliance on ineffective surveillance, policing, and involuntary transport and treatment of people with mental illness. Homeless people are more likely to be the victims of crimes than the perpetrators, but Mayor Adams has continually scapegoated homeless people and others with mental illness as violent. Further, his focus on involuntary transport and treatment ignores that many people cannot access psychiatric care even on a voluntary basis. Even more, Mayor Adams’ call for enrolling more people in shelters in Medicaid is not a real solution. Of the 93,925 adults eligible in December 2021 to receive enhanced mental health services in NYC under the State’s Medicaid managed care program for those with serious mental illnesses, only 2,179 — 2.3 percent — actually received such care in the prior 12 months. Rather than further involving police in mental health responses and urging City workers to involuntarily transport more people to hospitals, the administration should focus on expanding access to voluntary inpatient and outpatient psychiatric care, offering individual hotel rooms to all unsheltered people, and cutting through red tape that has left far too many permanent supportive housing units sitting vacant.

Mayor Adams needs to focus on repairing our broken mental health system and prioritize bringing access to quality voluntary care and affordable, permanent housing with support services to New Yorkers who need it the most.”