New mandate gives families in NYC homeless shelters one-stop access to mental health services
A new mandate was passed overwhelmingly in the City Council on Tuesday that would require each New York City shelter serving families with children to provide either onsite or telehealth mental health services.
Mayor Eric Adams signed the mandate, Intro 522, which passed with all 47 votes going in favor of the program.
A key part of the legislation is that the services are brought to the shelters, meaning people no longer have to leave the shelter to seek help.
“The councilmembers who seem to not agree on anything agreed on this. It sends a message that the New York City Council knows there is a mental health crisis, and that crisis is fueled by not enough services for those in need,” said Christine Quinn, president and CEO of shelter provider Win.
Quinn adds that this first obstacle of accessibility is pivotal to the success of this program, but that a shortage of social workers both citywide and nationwide is a challenge.
The team at Win plans to work with shelters to create an accelerated Master of Social Work program with the City University of New York to help address the shortage.
Intro 522 will go into effect in early 2024 for the 30 shelters deemed most in need. The goal is to have the services available at every NYC family shelter by 2025.