What Next

The Last Time NYC Tried to Hospitalize the Homeless

The best way to help New York’s mentally ill homeless population is just by providing them a place to live.


Episode Notes

In an effort to address New York’s growing problem of unhoused people living on the streets, Mayor Eric Adams announced that the city would start involuntarily hospitalizing people. It’s a strategy the city tried back in the ‘80s as well. Why didn’t it work then?

Guest: Sam Tsemberis, founder and executive director of Pathways to Housing, and associate clinical professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA.

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Podcast production by Elena Schwartz, Carmel Delshad, and Madeline Ducharme, with help from Anna Phillips, Tori Dominguez, and Jared Downing.


About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

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  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.