Mayor’s FY25 Executive Budget fails to restore and provide funding for safety solutions that address intersecting mental health and housing crises

City Hall, NY – Ahead of the City Council’s Executive Budget hearing with the Committee on Finance and Committee on Public Safety, the Council called for restorations and greater investments into programs that would help the City reduce recidivism, respond to mental health challenges, and provide stability to New Yorkers.

There are several programs that face cuts or inadequate funding, which the Council prioritized in its Preliminary Budget Response but were left out of the Mayor’s FY25 Executive Budget.

These include:

Mental Health Courts and Diversion Programs

  • Mental health courts and their associated programs help facilitate appropriate mental health responses and reduce the likelihood of rearrest by diverting people into treatment with increased coordination of care to address underlying issues. These programs have lacked the capacity to fulfill the level of need, are too often unavailable, and can have average wait times of months for appropriate placement because of insufficient investments to operate at scale. The Council called upon the Administration to provide an additional $8.9 million for baseline funding for mental health courts that connect people to appropriate interventions: $4.7 million in additional resources for the Manhattan Mental Health Court and the Judicial Diversion Court’s Mental Health Track, and $4.2 million for alternative-to-incarceration programs (ATIs) and problem-solving courts.

15/15 Supportive Housing and Justice-Involved Supportive Housing

  • Supportive housing remains one of the most effective methods to address issues of mental health and homelessness by providing housing stability to individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness with other challenges or involvement in the justice system. The Council called on the Administration to allocate $19.6 million to progress the 15/15 Supportive Housing program and $6.4 million for Justice Involved Supportive Housing (JISH) to ensure 500 supportive housing units are brought online for New Yorkers to successfully transition back into their communities.

Alternatives to Incarceration, Supervised Release and Re-entry Programming

  • For years, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice has managed Alternatives to Incarceration, supervised release, and re-entry programming to reduce incarceration and recidivism. As part of the Mayor’s Program to Eliminate the Gap, these programs took a nearly $28 million cut and were only partially restored in the Executive Budget.

Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) teams

  • FACT teams are specialized units composed of experts including behavioral health specialists, clinicians, and case management experts that provide care and wraparound for individuals with serious mental illnesses (SMIs) outside of traditional clinical settings. They provide targeted support to people who have not been effectively served by traditional services and have cycled through the justice system without successful interventions to address their underlying challenges. The Council called for an additional $7 million investment to expand the City’s FACT teams.

Trauma Recovery Centers

  • Over the past two fiscal years, the Council has allocated nearly $5 million to establish New York State’s first trauma recovery centers (TRCs) in Brooklyn (2) and the Bronx (1). TRCs are designed to reach survivors of violent crime who lack access to traditional victim services and are less likely to engage in mainstream mental health or social services. They provide wraparound services and coordinated care, including mental health, physical health, and legal services, by utilizing multi-disciplinary staff that can include psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and outreach workers focused on providing survivor-centered healing and removing barriers to care. The Council called for $7.2 million in baselined funding to permanently sustain the existing TRCs and create one new center in both Queens and Staten Island in the Fiscal Year 2025 budget.

Community Justice Centers

  • Community Justice Centers have bridged the gap between the courts and communities to improve public safety and public trust in justice. By helping community members access stable housing, neighborhood safety, re-entry services, and youth programming, these Centers reduce recidivism and help prevent crime while solving neighborhood problems. The Council called on the Administration to provide the necessary capital funds to construct facilities to house Community Justice Centers in the Bronx and Staten Island, the only boroughs without centers.

“Of course, our cops are a crucial piece of the public safety puzzle but they cannot be the only piece,” said Council Member Justin Brannan, Chair of the Committee on Finance. “That is why from increased funding for mental health support services and supportive housing to expanding Trauma Recovery Centers and programs proven to reduce recidivism, this Council is calling for investments that double down on proven solutions that enhance public safety holistically and produce long-term results. We cannot “more cops” our way out of every problem we face. Ultimately, the safest communities are the ones with the most resources not the most police on the beat. Strong communities keep everyone safe, and you keep everyone safe by making sure nobody slips through the cracks.”

“When it comes to the safety of this city, it is imperative that we address the critical needs of our communities with comprehensive and proactive solutions,” said Council Member Yusef Salaam, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety. The Mayor’s Executive Budget should be prioritizing key initiatives that are essential for enhancing public safety and promoting justice. We cannot afford to overlook the significance of investing in diversion programs for our district attorneys, supportive housing for justice-involved individuals, trauma recovery centers, alternatives to incarceration, supervised release, re-entry programming, community justice centers, and our city’s mental health infrastructure, among other critical programs. These programs are not just line items; they are lifelines for our communities. By allocating resources to these initiatives, we demonstrate a commitment to addressing the root causes of crime and fostering true rehabilitation rather than punishment.

Salaam continued, “We need to invest in interventions that prevent individuals from entering the revolving door of the criminal justice system and provide pathways to healing and recovery. As we move forward with the budget process, I urge the Administration to prioritize these vital public safety solutions. Our city’s safety and well-being depend on it, and as stewards of our communities and guardians of our society, we must ensure that every New Yorker has access to the support and resources they need to thrive.”

“What our City has experienced throughout this crisis has been a result of decades of disinvestment into mental healthcare,” said Council Member Linda Lee, Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addictions. “The Administration’s Executive Budget related to mental health will not sufficiently meet the dire needs of families suffering as a result of our city’s mental health challenges. The City Council aims to be proactive, rather than reactive, in bolstering our mental health infrastructure. Through an additional $8.9M in baselined funding for Mental Health Courts and Diversion programs that steer individuals into treatment and interventions, we will improve mental health outcomes and reduce recidivism. Housing is a key social determinant of health, and allocating the necessary funding to meet our city’s goals to increase our stock of supportive housing units will be key in decreasing street homelessness and stabilizing communities. Finally, we have seen the results of deputizing law enforcement as the catch-all solution for intervening in situations involving those with severe mental illness. Expanding the city’s Forensic Assertive Community Treatment Teams through DOHMH will ensure individuals are met with wraparound care from mental health professionals with the appropriate expertise.

Lee continued, “The Administration’s $757M allocation to address mental health represents less than one percent of the City’s total budget and will prove to be inadequate in addressing the gravity of the complex challenges facing New York. As Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addictions I am proud to join Speaker Adams and the rest of my Council colleagues in the fight to secure a brighter future for New Yorkers and the mental welfare of our city.”

“I am deeply committed to fostering safer communities, I am profoundly concerned by the Administration’s decision to slash funding for crucial recidivism reduction programs,” said Council Member Sandy Nurse, Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee. “These cuts jeopardize the progress we’ve made in providing effective alternatives to incarceration, supervised release, and re-entry services. By underfunding these essential initiatives, we not only fail to address the root causes of criminal behavior but also risk the safety and well-being of our neighborhoods. It is of the utmost importance that we prioritize investments in programs proven to reduce recidivism and support individuals in their journey towards rehabilitation and reintegration into society.”