Eric Adams has defended his plan to involuntarily send mentally-ill people to psychiatric hospitals, insisting that it was the right thing to do and pushing back against his critics.
Adams on November 29, saying that for too long the issue had been left to fester.
‘As a city, we have a moral obligation to support our fellow New Yorkers and stop the decades-long practice of turning a blind eye towards those suffering from severe mental illness, especially those who pose a risk of harm to themselves,’ he said at the time.
‘It is not acceptable for us to see someone who clearly needs help and walk past them.’
Yet the new policy was immediately criticized by advocates for homeless people, who said it raised worrying human rights issues, and said the focus should be on providing more housing rather than taking people away.
On Monday, however, Adams pushed back.
‘I didn’t get elected to do an easy task,’ he said.’I got elected to look at these systemic problems that have been in city for generations.’
Eric Adams, mayor of New York City, on Monday insisted that his controversial policy on involuntarily committing homeless people with mental health issues to hospital was the right thing to do
A homeless person is seen in Times Square on December 1.Adams said mentally ill people on the streets, unable to care for themselves, would be taken to psychiatric facilities
Adam’s New Pathway plan will allow the NYPD and FDNY to forcibly hospitalize the mentally ill who refuse treatment, even if they do not appear to pose a clear or present danger to themselves or others
A homeless person is seen on Broadway on December 1, after Adams’ announcement
Adams revealed that he had asked private hospitals to provide psychiatric beds, and said many had agreed – without providing figures.
His office said on Monday that one person had already been committed under the scheme.
Kenneth Raske, the president of the Greater New York Hospital Association, which represents more than 250 hospitals, said he supports the mayor’s plan, but admitted it would not be easy to implement.
‘Psychiatric problems are episodic issues so you can’t just allocate beds,’ Raske said.
‘The expansion is occurring.But will we have to wrestle with other hurdles? The answer is absolutely, yes, we will, but we will clear those hurdles.’
Asked whether he could provide data on the scheme, Adams said they were limited by patient protection laws.
‘Within the limitation of HIPAA laws or other laws, we’re not required to report,’ Adams said.’But we’re going to try to be as transparent as possible.’
Some critics said that was not good enough.
‘We want to know the length of stay, I want to know whether they’re admitted, whether they’re not admitted, whether they’re medicated, not medicated, whether they’re connected with services, what services, for how long, whether the city is finding housing for them,’ said Donna Lieberman, NYCLU executive director.
The pandemic has increased the number of people living on the streets, and Adams said he had to act
It is not uncommon for New Yorkers to encounter people sleeping in train stations
As the weather gets colder, more and more homeless people find shelter in the subway
Outreach workers are seen talking to a homeless person. Outreach workers were deployed to the station as part of Adams’ Subway Safety Plan
She told Fox News: ‘It’s like potentially blowing up the whole barn because the mayor is proposing, by his own words, to sweep thousands of people off the streets into the already overburdened hospital system.
‘That means that people who want to go to the hospital for care won’t have any place to go.’
The plan will allow the NYPD and FDNY to forcibly hospitalize the mentally ill who refuse treatment, even if they do not appear to pose a clear or present danger to themselves or others.
Adams’ announcement comes as colder weather rolls in and the city’s increasing population are seeking shelter in subway stations and trains.
Violent , especially on public transportation, has risen across all five boroughs as the city’s residents fear unprovoked attacks from the mentally ill.
‘If severe mental illness is causing someone to be unsheltered and a danger to themselves, we have a moral obligation to help them get the treatment and care they need,’ Adams said on Tuesday
Overall crime is up 26.7 percent in the Big Apple as the city continues to battle heightened violent crime
Transit crimes have increased 33.5 percent this year, compared to the same time last year, with more than 500 more crimes taking place
However, a source told the that the police were ‘blindsided’ by Adams’ announcement and think he’s ‘jumped the gun on this.’
‘Not sure why they did it,’ the source said.’Like everything else, it gets dumped in our lap and we’re expected to solve the problem without any guidance.
‘It’s kind of a hot mess.’
However, City Hall insisted the NYPD has known about this initiative for ‘months.’
And the NYPD later issued a statement on Wednesday, saying: ‘To be clear, every city agency received this directive yesterday, however, we have been working with the mayor’s office for months regarding this important initiative.
‘[We are] currently in the process of aligning its policy, guidance, and training in conformance with the mayor’s directive which the department received on Tuesday.’
With transit crimes up 33.5 percent and overall crime up 26.7 percent, Adams said he felt it was necessary to implement a ‘long-term strategy to help more of those suffering from severe and untreated mental illness [to] find their way to treatment and recovery.’
‘If severe mental illness is causing someone to be unsheltered and a danger to themselves, we have a moral obligation to help them get the treatment and care they need,’ he said last month.