New York Mayor Eric Adams has committed to using his second year in office to provide free healthcare to the city’s homeless and crack down on its ‘most wanted’ criminals.
Adams made the vow on Thursday during his second-ever State of the City speech at the Queens Theatre in Flushing.
Although the mayor provided little by way of details as to how the scheme – which could cost the city millions – would be funded in practice, he explained that providing free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness would alleviate pressure on the city in the long run.
He said during the address that his Working People’s Agenda for 2023 was built on ‘four pillars that are essential to building a city’: jobs, safety, housing, and care.
The cleanliness of the city’s streets was also addressed, with the mayor saying he would continue to fight ‘rats, trash and traffic’.
During his first State of the City speech in 2022, his emphasis had been on public safety.
Mayor Eric Adams has committed using his second year in office to provide free healthcare to the city’s homeless and cracking down on its worst criminals
He said during the address that his Working People’s Agenda for 2023 was built on ‘four pillars that are essential to building a city’: jobs, safety, housing, and care
He announced during the speech on January 26 that his administration would work with the federal government to allow New Yorkers that have been homeless for more than seven days access to free healthcare.
‘Connecting New Yorkers experiencing homelessness to ongoing primary care, behavioral health care, and social services is more cost-efficient than the cycle of hospitalizations and emergency room visits that so many people experience,’ he said.
Adams also took the opportunity to raise the issue of crime. Although the city’s murder and shooting rates dropped in the first half of this month as compared with last year, certain types of crimes remain up, such as rape and robbery, as well as overall crimes.
But on Thursday the mayor committed to making the streets and neighborhoods safer by taking the most-wanted criminals off the streets, who he said are responsible for much of the crime in the city.
‘We are getting New York City’s ‘Most Wanted’ off our streets and investing millions to make our city cleaner and greener,’ he said.
‘Time after time, we see crime after crime from a core group of repeat offenders. There are roughly 1,700 known offenders that are responsible for a disproportionate amount of violent crime in our city,’ he said.
Eric Adams pictured distributing food to New Yorkers in need on January 25
Adams was quick to pay compliments to Governor Kathy Hochul, who was in the front row of the Queens Theatre on Thursday.
‘On so many issues, she has been there for our city right from the start,’ Adams said. Several items on his agenda will require support from Albany.
Adams was prepared to acknowledge that there are issues with how criminals are handled and that there is a backlog of criminal cases to be handled.
He said: ‘We look forward to working with the Governor and the legislature to make changes in the law that ensure defendants are provided with the speedy trial that our Constitution guarantees and that victims and their families are provided justice in a timely manner.
‘That means making sure our district attorneys and public defenders have the resources they need to clear the backlog of cases.’
He announced that the city will also work with Albany to push a new bill to increase penalties for aggressive and law-breaking drivers.
‘We must treat traffic violence the same way we treat other dangerous crimes,’ he said.
Adams suggested that providing free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness would alleviate pressure on the city in the long run
Adams made continued reference to the working people of the city. ‘Without a strong working class, this city cannot survive. That’s why, today, I’ve outlined how we plan to build a city for working people, one that is more affordable, safer, cleaner, and more livable,’ said Mayor Adams
With regards to work, Adams also mentioned the launch of an ‘Apprenticeship Accelerator’ that would aim to place 30,000 New Yorkers in apprenticeship programs by 2030, with roles in technology.
There was a noticeable absence of reference to asylum seekers, despite the fact Adams has been especially vocal about the issue recently.
After a visit to El Paso earlier this month he labeled the border crisis a ‘disaster’ and said the city might need $2billion in federal assistance to manage the migrants arriving in the city.
His only mention of the issue came around an hour into the speech. ‘Over the past year, our ability to care was put to the test by the asylum seeker crisis. New Yorkers rose to the occasion, as they always do,’ he said.
‘Since last spring, we have had more than 42,000 asylum seekers arrive in our city, and we have provided them with shelter, food, education, health care, and legal support.’
Crime statistics in New York for the first half of January showed that although murders and shootings are down, overall crime is up
Crime spiraled during the pandemic and since then homeless people have flocked to ATM vestibules, using them to shelter while they sleep
A homeless person’s belongings lie scattered inside a Wells Fargo ATM vestibule in Los Angeles
At the beginning of the month the NYPD released statistics summarizing crime throughout 2022.
Those numbers painted a bleak picture of the city’s efforts to address crime that’s rocketed since the pandemic – a campaign that had been touted as successful several times over the year Adams.
Adams’ State of the City address and plan to help the homeless comes just days after Chase announced banks in New York City will close ATMs by 5pm due to ‘rising crime and vagrancy’,
The bank said vestibules at a small number of branches across the city would be closed at 5pm or 6pm, aligning with normal hours of its other banking services.
In a tweet, Chase said this was ‘due to rising crime and vagrancy that occurred in these previously 24/7 vestibules.’
But the bank – which has assets worth more than $3tn – declined to confirm the number of branches or neighborhoods affected. In a statement to DailyMail.com, Chase said: ‘We review our ATM hours on a case-by-case basis and for a variety of reasons may decide to temporarily close some overnight.’