Mental Heath Compulsory Tuneup Program For NY Homeless: Still Waiting

Decaying red brick buildings seen across the water from Bronx, New York
Hart Island, The Bronx photo by cisc1970 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
Not enough mental hospital space for needy homeless people in NY? Perhaps these historic hospital buildings on Hart Island in the Bronx could be refurbished?

Recently we reported (alongside a good chunk of the world’s press) when New York City’s Mayor Eric Adams announced his plan to remove homeless people from the streets and commit them to a mental health care institution. The plan was his way to get a certain number of homeless people out of exasperated civic hair1.

It’s all for a homeless person’s own good, of course, with the apparent objective to be some kind of in-patient institutional treatment. Questions have flown, and the immediate answers have not been entirely forthcoming.

Potential clients of this mental health service would be ‘street evaluated’  . . . by whom? Based on . . . what criteria? Collected by . . . which professionals? Taken to . . . which institutions? To be further evaluated and treated by . . . which experts? Entered into a program . . . with what objective? All demonstrably legal according to . . . which laws? (And ultimately, undoubtedly the ultimate question: who’s paying for all this?)

Without immediate clarity, and while waiting for answers or a commencement of this service, critiques have been flying thick and fast. For any other jurisdictions thinking to model such a program, here’s one of many sketches that reveal problems with Mayor Adam’s ambitious initiative. Read more at abc NEWS: Mental health expert questions forced hospitalization of New York’s homeless


  1. Our contribution when sketching out this proposal was an article from someone who had suffered involuntary commitment. Try: New York City Erodes Fragile Human Rights Protection For Mental Health Sufferers