NYC Successfully Relocates 54 Mentally Ill Homeless Individuals from Streets

November 29, 2023 By admin Off

New York City has moved 54 homeless people experiencing severe mental illness into stable housing settings or medical centers in the year since it announced a contentious program to involuntarily hospitalize homeless people, according to Mayor Adams’ office. The 54 people were on the city’s two so-called Top 50 lists, which together include about 100 high-need people who typically stay in the subways or streets, consistently refuse services, and are considered to be experiencing particularly entrenched cases of homelessness. Forty have been placed in some form of housing, and 14 are hospitalized, said Kate Smart, a spokeswoman for the mayor. The 54 placements represent a more than 140% increase compared with the previous year, according to City Hall. The Top 50 lists, which are regularly updated, once included Jordan Neely, the 30-year-old Black man killed in a white former Marine’s chokehold in a Manhattan subway car last spring. Exactly a year ago, Adams, a moderate Democrat, commenced the city’s push to force high-need homeless people into hospital care. The program employs a state law dictating when the city can involuntarily place mentally ill New Yorkers into care. Brian Stettin, Adams’ senior adviser on severe mental illness, described the program’s initial outcomes as encouraging. Critics say the city’s approach overemphasizes hospital care, insufficiently integrates agencies outside city government and targets only a small subset of people ensnared by the homeless crisis. The city’s homeless challenge has been inflamed by the arrival of more than 130,000 migrants since spring 2022, according to city data, and the shelter population has roughly doubled over the last 12 months. In September, the city had more than 4,500 vacant supportive housing beds, according to city data. Gary Belkin, a former head of the city’s mental health department who works out of Columbia University’s school of public health, said the current administration’s effort to battle homelessness faces “such headwinds against them with this in-migration.” But he said he was worried the city had fallen “back on old habits that just haven’t worked — over-medicalizing the problem, just getting people in hospitals quicker, forgetting the fact that that is not a magic bullet.”