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Wealth & Poverty Review How Housing First Fails the Mentally Ill

When the state-run mental institutions closed their doors in the twentieth century, where did their residents go? 

In New York, many were transferred to adult care homes, which were ill-equipped to care for those suffering from a serious mental illness.

In 2014, New York began transferring the mentally ill from adult care homes to supported housing, in the belief that more freedom was a good thing.

In 2019, Frontline and ProPublica released a documentary following the stories of those for whom New York’s plan was a tragic failure. 

The documentary is a heart-shattering 50 minutes of state incompetency and neglect. Of 4,000 adult home residents who were eligible to move out of adult homes, 770 had moved into more independent living as of 2019. Of those 770, 39 returned to adult homes, and 33 died.

Caitlin Bassett

Caitlin Bassett was a Policy Analyst and Communications Liaison for the Center for Science & Culture and the Center on Wealth & Poverty. Her main areas of focus are in Big Tech and its impact on human freedom, as well as homelessness and mental illness. In her free time, she enjoys delving into Lewis and Tolkien, cosmology, and running around historical sites on the East Coast. She graduated from Liberty University in 2017 with her Bachelor’s in Politics and Policy.