As the issue of crime continues to rise in the city, leading mayoral candidate Eric Adams today pushed back on the idea that only mental health professionals should answer calls where there is a mental health crisis, without the assistance of a police officer.
Adams’ comments came as he sat down with the Schneps Media Editorial Board, where the current Brooklyn Borough President touched on several topics ranging from affordable housing to crime to rezoning.
“That [to send only mental health professionals] is reckless and that is irresponsible,” said Adams. “Every call of a mental health person is not merely that someone is feeling depressed.”
Adams pointed to instances where incidents did turn violent and says there needs to be a combination of the two.
“If the call for service is dealing with a person that is not violent, no imminent threat or danger, have a mental health professional go,” said Adams. “We should also have that police officer on backup just in case.”
Adams looks to fix the affordable housing crisis through various methods like basement apartments, apartment sharing, and lived sharing spaces that are used in parts of Europe. This is also part of his plan to help with homelessness, where Adams says he wants to retrofit hotels and move away from shelters.
A real-time system will be built that would analyze the pool of apartments that are currently built, but where the Area Median Income (AMI) is too high.
“We need to think not outside the box, but we have to destroy the box,” said Adams.
Adams is in support of the SoHo/NoHo rezoning plan. The plan would add affordable housing to two of the more affluent neighborhoods in the city.
“We’ve had an improper approach to affordable housing in this city. We’ve upzoned poorer communities, ignored affluent areas. I say let’s upzone those areas as well as 42nd street to 14th street, from 9th avenue to Park avenue.”
He says this would solve multiple problems like diversifying schools that are segregated.
“We can get a better return on our investment by upzoning these areas.”
Adams believes the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) fix should come from state funding, but if it does fall in the hands of the city, jobs can be created to “reimagine” the BQE. This would include putting it on the ground level, submerging it in some areas, and creating a park over the structure.
“This is an excellent opportunity to rethink how we’re gonna use that BQE.”
Adams placed a focus on creating a new position, Deputy Mayor of Efficiency, to ensure that city agencies are on the same page and communicating. He says this would allow for everyone to be in the same room when solving problems.
“We’re going to start bringing together the agencies that impact a particular area and have him or her in charge of that,” said Adams.