The Big Apple must bolster its mental-health services to start encouraging homeless people to get out of the subway.
New York’s comeback from COVID-19 remains hampered by the twin crises of homelessness and mental illness. Many metrics are objectively bad. Adding to the problem, attitudes about normalcy appear to have changed.
Street and subway conditions that circa 2019 people took in stride as part of big-city life are less acceptable to workers who have learned that they have choices. Higher standards mean that Mayor Eric Adams’ job may be even harder than his predecessors’.
Not everyone’s going to flee to Florida in reaction to news about a subway pushing or encounter with a disheveled panhandler. But still-diminished subway-ridership numbers are an ongoing measure of what people consider tolerable when it comes to public disorder.
Some critics say Adams’ approach to mental-illness-related disorder is overly light on specifics and heavy on talk. Sometimes, though, talk matters — especially when it comes from popular politicians with a rising national profile.
Stephen Eide is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor of City Journal.
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