Without Investments in Housing and Ongoing Health Services, the Mayor's Plan Will Perpetuate Cycles of Trauma and Homelessness
For Immediate Release
December 2, 2022
This week New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced his plan to institutionalize people involuntarily who are experiencing mental illness and homelessness. CSH acknowledges that many people experiencing homelessness will benefit from treatment, but a police-driven response is not the way to get them there. This approach will be harmful and traumatizing to people already impacted by the failures of public systems to adequately care for and provide long-term housing options combined with ongoing behavioral health support. Decades of evidence have shown that adequately trained peers and other mental health professionals who use a trauma-informed approach are significantly more successful in intervening in crises and engaging people around treatment. A trauma-informed approach prioritizes safety and trust with the person experiencing mental illness to engage them as collaborators in recovery.
Further, Mayor Adams's plan failed to adequately address care and housing once people are discharged from hospitals. Hospitalizing people, whether voluntarily or not, will not result in improved outcomes if people do not have access to housing and services upon discharge. Any plan that does not include pathways to stable, quality housing with wraparound health and other support services perpetuates a cycle of homelessness and trauma and generates high public costs. CSH calls on Mayor Adams to reconsider his plan and work with Governor Kathy Hochul, the city's housing and behavioral health, and other service providers to create a genuinely compassionate and long-term strategy. This strategy would include restoring funding to mental health programs, residential treatment settings, and comprehensive outpatient programs and making more significant investments in supportive housing as well as addressing barriers to developing affordable housing. We need a more humane approach to helping those experiencing mental illness, trauma, and homelessness.