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Judge won't halt Mayor Eric Adams' controversial mental health plan

Legal victory for Mayor Adams' mental health plan
Legal victory for Mayor Adams' mental health plan 02:28

NEW YORK -- In a legal victory for Mayor Eric Adams, the lawsuit to stop the city from involuntarily hospitalizing the mentally ill has been denied -- at least, for now. 

The judge wants more time to explore this further before he rules on the request made by those trying to stop the mayor's plan from moving forward. 

"This is the most urgent type of request you can make to a court," said Marinda van Dalen, attorney with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. 

Van Dalen represents a coalition of advocates who filed an emergency request in federal court last week to halt the mayor's plan to force mentally ill people from the streets into treatment. 

"We believe this new policy discriminates against people with mental disabilities and will endanger their very lives," she said. 

READ MORE: Mayor Eric Adams says New York City will treat mentally ill, even if they refuse

The mayor issued the directive to first responders, outreach workers and city hospital workers last month. He said they have the legal authority to provide care to people when their mental illness prevents them from meeting their own basic needs, making them a danger to themselves. 

"I know some people may look at what we're doing saying that we are trying to do something to take away the right of people. No we're not. The right is that people should be able to live in dignity," Adams said last month. 

Those who filed the request argue police do not have the proper training for this, and city hospitals lack the resources to care for them. 

"There are not enough hospital beds today to deal with the people who are voluntarily seeking treatment, let alone the individuals who are now more vulnerable to being picked up and brought to the hospital," said Matt Kudish, CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. 

READ MORE: Public interest groups file emergency request to halt Mayor Eric Adams' controversial mental health plan

A federal judge wants more time to look into this, setting a schedule for arguments on the issue through January. 

Meanwhile on Wednesday, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced a new $9 million mental health initiative. The funding would go toward preventative programs helping people in their neighborhoods and at court arraignments, voluntarily connecting them to assistance. 

"We cannot ignore these issues and have people cycle through our court system again and again. By addressing these human needs, we address the broader need of public safety in our community," Bragg said. 

Also this week, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced $16 million in state funding for housing and support services for those living on the streets and in the subway system. 

Later this morning, we'll learn more about the City Council's new plan to address the housing crisis, which includes supportive housing for those with mental health challenges. 

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