NEW YORK CITY, New York: New York City Mayor Eric Adams has announced a plan to tackle "a crisis we see all around us," by hospitalizing more mentally ill homeless people without their consent.
Speaking from City Hall, Democrat Adams said the city had a "moral obligation" to help New Yorkers struggling to meet their own basic needs because of mental illness, even if they do not consent to such intervention.
Since taking office in January, Adams has prioritized addressing the city's homeless crisis.
According to New York advocacy group Coalition for the Homeless, earlier this year there were more than 50,000 people sleeping in city-run shelters every night.
"We can no longer deny the reality that untreated psychosis can be a cruel and all-consuming condition that often requires involuntary intervention, supervised medical treatment and long-term care," Adams said.
However, homeless advocacy groups urged the city's government to pursue other approaches to solving mental health issues, while not involving the police.
"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," said Jacquelyn Simone, policy director for the Coalition for the Homeless, as quoted by Reuters.
Adams said the city would remove anyone on the streets undergoing a mental health crisis, while immediately providing training for emergency personnel, hospital staff and other outreach workers on how to provide "compassionate care."
Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul have vowed to address a rise in violence and a random attacks of subway riders over the past year.