Credit where credit is due, this is the direction to go.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams late last month announced a new push to from the city’s streets, an effort he said would include hospitalizing some homeless people against their will.
Under the new city policy, law enforcement will have the power to detain any person who “appears to be mentally ill” and is deemed to pose a threat to themselves or others into custody and force them to undergo psychiatric evaluation at a local hospital.
Like many major cities in the United States, New York has dealt with a persistently high rate of homelessness in recent decades. Although the image of a person with schizophrenia talking to themselves on a street corner might sum up homelessness in the eyes of many members of the public, the relationship between is complex. Research shows that most homeless people do not have a severe mental illness, but the mentally ill are often the focus of debates around the issue because they are more visible and often raise concerns about public safety. There is also a lot of debate among experts about how many become homeless because they have psychiatric disorders versus how much the trauma of living on the streets causes or exacerbates mental illness.
I’m always wary about police power to make these kinds of determinations. It could easily be abused. But we also need to at least have a way to initiate a process to both (a) get the mentally ill off of the streets, and (b) get them the help they need. Once we do that, the majority of the remaining homeless are drug addicts, homeless by choice, or both.
If you are mentally ill and a danger to yourself and others, the State always has the right to hold you for 72 hours for observation. So, this is nothing new.
What about the drug users? What about those who do violence who are not mentally ill.
This is just a tiny band aid for a problem liberals caused.