New York would expand psychiatric beds and housing units to bolster its mental health care services under a $1 billion plan proposed Tuesday by Gov. Kathy Hochul.
The plan unveiled ahead of Hochul's State of the State address comes as New York officials over the last year have sought to bolster mental health services in the wake of the COVID pandemic and address a worsening homelessness crisis.
Hochul wants to increase in-patient psychiatric beds by 1,000 and add 3,500 housing units.
"When it comes to protecting New Yorkers' well-being, strengthening our mental health care system is essential and long overdue," Hochul said. "We have underinvested in mental health care for so long, and allowed the situation to become so dire, that it has become a public safety crisis, as well. This proposal marks a monumental shift to make sure no one falls through the cracks and to finally and fully meet the mental health needs of all New Yorkers."
The plan is expected to be detailed when Hochul delivers her State of the State address at 1 p.m. in Albany.
The governor wants to allow the Office of Mental Health to enforce the bed expansion by finding so-called Article 28 community hospitals up to $2,000 per violation per day for not complying with the number of beds outlined in their operating certificate.
She also wants to expand new adult beds to 150 in state-operated hospitals, with 100 beds in New York City.
Meanwhile, Hochul is also calling for 500 community residence-single room units to provide housing for people with serious mental illnesses who are at the highest risk of becoming homeless.