NLIHC Joins Statement Opposing NYC Mayor Eric Adams’s Plan to Increase Involuntary Hospitalization of New Yorkers with Disabilities

NLIHC joined nearly 300 organizations and individuals in a joint statement released on December 12 opposing New York City Mayor Eric Adams’s plan to sweep the city’s streets and subways of people with mental disabilities, most of them Black and brown people and many of them homeless or experiencing housing instability.

Last month, Mayor Adams announced a new directive to New York City’s police officers, EMTs, and street outreach workers, instructing them to transport individuals who appeared unable to “meet their basic needs” to psychiatric hospitals involuntarily. The Mayor cited individuals who are “mumbling,” “shadow boxing,” or merely standing on the street for too long as examples of those to whom his directive would apply.

The directive is “another deeply misguided and harmful attempt by Mayor Adams to criminalize people for being without a stable home. This doesn’t solve homelessness or mental illness. It is unequivocally the wrong approach,” said Diane Yentel, NLIHC’s president and CEO. “Solutions to homelessness – including for unsheltered [people] – must be rooted in ensuring the health, wellness, and safety of those who are homeless and focus on investing in proven solutions, such as permanent affordable housing, affordable/accessible health care, and support services.”

The joint statement raises several concerns with Mayor Adams’ plan, including the lack of evidence that involuntary court-ordered treatment is more effective at helping people with mental disabilities live successfully in communities than is engagement through voluntary services, like those that offer people help finding and maintaining a home. The statement also notes that Black and brown people with disabilities are overrepresented in the population of individuals experiencing homelessness and so are more likely to be involuntarily hospitalized under the mayor’s plan or subjected to traumatizing and dangerous interactions with law enforcement that could result in serious harm, including death.

NLIHC joins New York City advocates in condemning this misguided and inhumane plan, which will only succeed in further harming and stigmatizing people with mental disabilities, and NLIHC urges Mayor Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul to reject this  expansion of involuntary commitment. Together with local advocates, service providers, and people with lived experience, the mayor must invest in the development of a comprehensive plan to provide New Yorkers with disabilities who are experiencing homelessness the housing and voluntary services they want and need.

The mayor should invest in proven solutions such as the Housing First model to get people housed quickly and safely and reduce both sheltered and unsheltered homelessness. Through Housing First, a person with a mental health disability gains access to stable, affordable housing and a host of voluntary services to help them gain control over their own life and create their own plan for recovery.

Read the statement at:

Read the press release at:  

Read Diane Yentel’s Twitter statement at: