Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer was joined at Times Square this morning by Business Improvement District executives and leaders, and community groups.
Together they unveiled a plan that would direct millions of dollars from the New York State Opioid Settlement Fund to nonprofits that serve New Yorkers suffering from homelessness and addiction.
“Every overdose is a failure of government in the greatest and wealthiest city in the world,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “As Borough President, my first priority is to keep everyone in Manhattan safe. But people are dying in our streets from lack of healthcare and social services. Manhattan cannot recover unless its homeless and those struggling with addiction and mental illness recover. That’s why millions from the Opioid Settlement Fund awarded to New York City must flow to the nonprofits that we know are doing the work on the ground, and city agencies and commissioners must better coordinate with local BIDs and social service organizations.”
In addition to calling for New York State Opioid Settlement Fund money to be provided for targetted services by non-profits, Brewer also called for the expansion of the B-HEARD & HEAT programs. B-HEARD teams are FDNY paramedics and EMTs paired with mental health professionals from NYC Health + Hospitals as default first responders to people experiencing a mental health emergency. Health Engagement Assessment Teams (HEAT) are composed of one clinician and one peer (a person who has previously experienced a mental health challenge), to proactively engage people with the most frequent 911 contact, connecting them to care and other stabilizing support.