NEW YORK CITY - In response to Mayor Adams’s update about the City’s mental health involuntary removals policy, one year after its launch, the New York Civil Liberties Union released the following statement attributable to Executive Director Donna Lieberman:
“Forcing vulnerable people into treatment was an old, failed strategy when Mayor Adams announced it a year ago, and it still is. Despite the Mayor’s victory lap, a policy that criminalizes New Yorkers experiencing mental health challenges and homelessness is not help. Notably missing from the Mayor’s touted accomplishments is any meaningful expansion of programming and housing for people coping with mental health issues. What’s worse, the irony of an administration applauding themselves for forcing some people off the streets while simultaneously pushing newly-arrived migrants on to them as winter begins is lost on no one.
“As with many of the Mayor’s policies involving people who are unhoused and facing mental health challenges, this program has lacked transparency, data collection, or public reporting from the jump. The Administration offered no data on its implementation, including whether people of color are being disproportionately targeted. It remains a mystery how being involuntarily hospitalized leads to ‘voluntary’ placement in supportive housing. We’ve had to sue the City over disclosure and are still fighting.
“The decades-old practice of the City sweeping deep-seated problems out of public view is all about politics. The problems will persist without a real commitment to address New Yorkers’ core needs.”