City Council caucus wants Hochul to re-open state psych centers

A bipartisan City Council coalition is calling on Gov. Hochul to reopen many of the state’s shuttered psychiatric facilities to help Mayor Adams move forward with his sweeping mental health plan. 

The pols seek to reopen shuttered buildings that include all or parts of Queens’ Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, Bayley Seton Hospital on Staten Island and Pilgrim Psychiatric State Hospital in Suffolk County.

In a letter Thursday to Hochul, six Republicans and moderate Democrats known as the “Common Sense Caucus” praised Adams’ plan “as a bold step forward towards ensuring the safety of all New Yorkers” — but added the city severely lacks enough hospital beds to get mentally ill homeless off the street and to proper medical care.

Mental illness among homeless individuals is now the target of Mayor Adams’ sweeping mental health plan.William Farrington

“On a regular walk through the streets of Manhattan, it would not be uncommon to encounter more individuals with mental illness on the street than there are beds for treating them,” Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R-Queens) wrote on behalf of the coalition.

“As the greatest city in the world, we should be doing all that we can to uplift these individuals, and ensure that they get the care they need and deserve.”

The letter calls for Hochul to “invest the funds necessary” to make the empty facilities into “world-class supporting housing” to deal with the mentally ill.

The letter calls on Gov. Hochul to facilitate Adams' plans.The letter calls on Gov. Hochul to facilitate Adams’ plans.Dennis A. Clark

When asked about the letter, Hazel Crampton-Hays, a spokeswoman for the governor, said Hochul has been “working collaboratively with the city on solutions” to its mental health crisis, including putting “outreach teams in the subway system, training first responders, [and] increasing capacity at psychiatric hospitals and residential programs.

She added the “governor will continue working with elected colleagues, law enforcement, and medical professionals to enhance safety, support and resources.”

Adams announced his plan Nov. 29 after a string of horrifying subway attacks. It expanded the criteria by which someone could be involuntarily committed to include cases where people are unable to care for themselves.

Adams announced Adams announced “Housing for Health” last month.Paul Martinka

The plan has come under from fire critics who argue it could result in unlawful detentions because it allows cops to take homeless people involuntarily for psychiatric evaluations and potentially commit them to hospitals.

Kate Smart, a City Hall spokeswoman, said the Adams administration “would support more efforts to open additional supportive housing for those living with serious mental illness.”

“We appreciate both Governor Hochul’s and the City Council’s efforts to address the mounting mental health crises in New York City,” she said.

“Just last month, Mayor Adams announced Housing for Health, an initiative that will create supportive housing units on NYC Health + Hospitals land for patients cycling between emergency visits and homelessness.”