Mayor Eric Adams insisted Wednesday that his new plan to have emergency workers bring homeless people who appear unable to care for themselves into hospitals for psychiatric evaluations will not be a “police driven plan,” even though officers will be heavily involved.
The directive — which will move homeless people off the streets and out of subway stations and into hospitals, possibly involuntarily, to provide care to those deemed “dangerous” to themselves or others — has been met with swift criticism.
It would also direct police officers and mental health outreach workers to assist people they find across the Big Apple who are in distress.
“First of all, this is not a police driven plan,” Adams said on Fox 5. “This is a small, specific group of people who can’t take care of their basic needs and are dealing with mental health illnesses to the extent that they are a danger to themselves and others.”
“The goal is to zero in on them. Give them the care and services they need. Don’t wait until they do something that’s harmful,” Adams added.
The mayor made several media appearances Wednesday to speak on the new initiative, which has been criticized by civil liberties groups and some mental health advocates.
During his media stint, Adams was unable to say exactly how many New Yorkers are on the streets in need of help, noting that the number changes daily.
The NYPD was initially “blindsided” by Adams’ announcement of the policy to take mentally ill homeless people in for psychiatric evaluations last week, with many high-ranking officials telling The Post they only learned about it from news coverage.
While Adams previously insisted the training started Nov. 29, he doubled down that the policy has been in the works on Wednesday, telling PIX 11, “We have professionals that are part of this conversation and they are putting together the training so that our professionals know what the law can allow.”
In late October, Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul previewed plans for the training during a news conference announcing a “Cops, Cameras, Care” program to increase subway safety.
Adams reiterated his commitment to working with Albany on the issue when he was asked what will happen to the people hospitalized after they receive needed treatment for their mental illness.
“That’s the most important component,” Adams told PIX 11. “We’re going to need help from Albany for the continuation of care.”