Categories: New York City
On December 20th, the Network joined Correct Crisis Intervention Today (CCIT-NYC) outside Governor Hochul's Manhattan office for a “Community Care, Not Coercion” rally, urging the Governor to invest in comprehensive community care services and reject Mayor Adams’ directive to increase the traumatizing use of coercion and police.
Speakers called for investment in voluntary community-based services—peer-led crisis response options, supportive housing, and recovery programs — as opposed to coercive mental health arrests and the use of law enforcement to interact with individuals experiencing homelessness and mental health crises:
“Supportive housing is a humane and effective solution to those who are experiencing homelessness and mental health concerns. Supportive housing is permanent and saves lives. Involuntary assessment by the police of those who do not pose a threat to themselves or others is most definitely not the solution – and can well have disastrous results,” said Pascale Leone, Executive Director of the Supportive Housing Network of New York.
"When you are involuntarily hospitalized you have no autonomy or choice. At a crisis respite center you are acknowledged as a human being who is facing challenges, you are not stripped of your dignity. Most importantly, you can recover in freedom." said Ari Kadosh a Crisis Respite worker at Community Access.
“Housing Works’ clients include a majority of people of color, including people experiencing homelessness, people with substance use disorder, and people living with mental illness. These populations are already critically underserved and at great risk of police violence. Frontline workers like Housing Works’ dozens of behavioral health clinicians know that our clients don’t benefit from forced hospitalization. They need housing, healthcare, and community care,” said Dr. Pierre Arty, Chief Psychiatric Officer, Housing Works.
“Having a police officer transport an individual against their will to a psychiatric hospital, based on the officer’s belief that the individual is ‘unable to care for their basic human needs,’ is as inhumane as it is wrong-headed. Forced commitment is not treatment, and the individual in need will only be released from the hospital in short order, without even a plan for future care.” Ruth Lowenkron, Esq., Director, Disability Justice Program, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.
“As peers who have the dual-lived experiences of both behavioral health AND the criminal-legal system - removing a person's "voice " and "choice" does nothing but further traumatize, stigmatize and perpetuate harm. We invite the city to focus on trauma-informed responses and in particular to focus not on what a person has done but instead on how the city has failed them in not supplying appropriate resources, services and supportive mechanisms like peer support, adequate housing and care” said Helen Skipper Executive Director, NYC Justice Peer Initiative
Representatives from New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS), National Alliance on Mental Illness -NYC (NAMI-NYC), Urban Justice Center - Mental Health Project and Freedom Agenda, and 504 Democratic Club also spoke.
Learn more about CCIT-NYC and get involved here.