It’s no secret that homelessness in the United States has become a rather serious problem. While you might not notice it much in smaller towns, metropolises like San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City are seemingly overrun with it.
Residents, or even tourists who have traveled to any one of these and so many more, will tell you of seeing streets lined with cardboard shacks, tent villages, and alleyways strewn with the bodies of sleeping homeless. It’s harrowing, to be sure, and all too unsettling, especially when those homeless encampments usually come with rampant drug problems, higher-than-average crime rates, and diseases you can only imagine.
And yet, Democratic leader after Democratic leader, as these are ruled by, seem perfectly content to let the problem not only exist but grow, making little to no effort to either help or contain the issues at hand.
Then again, New York City Mayor Eric Adams isn’t exactly like most Democrats. While his predecessor was fine with rising crime rates and increasingly dangerous streets, as a former police officer, Adams is not.
And so, he’s pledged to clean up those streets.
His most recent move is to eradicate the homeless. Now, I don’t mean he’s kicking them out or anything, as so many others have tried over the decades. The city is simply too large and populated for such.
Instead, Adams has a plan that targets what he believes is the root of the problem, or at least a big part of it: Mental illness.
According to him, much of the city’s homeless problem begins with the massive amount of mentally ill individuals found there. In fact, he’s even gone so far as to call it a “crisis” of “people with severe and untreated mental illness who live out in the open on the streets, on our subways, in danger, and in need.”
He said this during a recent City Hall speech in which he then outlined his plans to solve the crisis.
Basically, he’ll be installing a set of reforms that allow city agencies and law enforcement to perform “involuntary removals” of anyone deemed mentally ill and living in public spaces.
Adams pointed out that for years, the leaders of New York City have simply walked by, seen the problem, and turned the other way. But if the city is to move forward and become safer and a better place to live, there can be “No more walking by or looking away. No more passing the buck.”
It’s time to get these people the “treatment and care they need.”
As he noted, many of these mentally ill individuals may not even realize that they require such care and help. And without the right kind of “intervention,” they may never understand that, remaining on the streets to fend for themselves with only their delusions to lead them.
It seems that the plans to commit individuals who are unsheltered and a danger to themselves or others because of mental illness stems from recent events in which mentally ill homeless have become a liability. Such as when one was recently pulled from the subway tracks by police officers, seeming unaware of the danger he was in.
The subways, where many of the mentally ill and homeless ends up, have also become a place of increased violent crime over the years, adding to Adams’s reasoning for wanting to solve this problem.
As the New York Post noted, this is not the first plan of this kind. Previously a policy was in place that allowed similar action to be taken by the city when interacting with mentally unstable individuals in homeless situations. Adams is just adding to it a bit and calling for reform.
With any luck, the mentally ill and homeless in New York City can soon find a better place to sleep and the kind of care they need rather than being thrust out into the streets of a harsh and unforgiving world.
Now, if only cities on the West Coast would take up similar plans of action instead of simply putting them up in hotels and supplying them with drugs.