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LISTEN: The City Wants to Help People Who Don’t Want to Be Helped

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Amtrak police try to remove a person after they started to disrupt a press conference in Penn Station, June 28, 2021.

Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Brian Stettin, City Hall’s senior advisor on severe mental illness, explains Mayor Eric Adams’ new approach, and why “compassion and care” should take priority over consent when city workers encounter people who aren’t able or interested in caring for themselves — even when those people don’t present any immediate danger:

“Look, if we’re going to just leave people on the street who are in need of medical care because we don’t have the beds and we don’t have the services then we should at least be honest enough to say that that’s the reason we’re abandoning people to the street,” he says. “We should not hide behind this false excuse that we can’t help them because the law doesn’t allow it.”

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