It’s a new pilot project without a plan — or even a name — being overseen by New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray’s embattled billion-dollar ThriveNYC program.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife revealed scant details of the new unnamed mental-health initiative in front of the cameras Tuesday, only saying the plan is to divert calls about emotionally distressed New Yorkers away from the NYPD and to newly formed teams of specially trained workers.
Yet neither the mayor nor McCray could say which two neighborhoods the project will target first when it starts in February or when it might be rolled out citywide.
The pair also failed to reveal how much the project will cost or how many workers it will entail.
City Hall has yet to respond to The Post’s questions on even these basic details.
Instead, the administration sent out a press release involving the new “Mental Health Teams,’’ with McCray saying, “Treating mental-health crises as mental-health challenges and not public safety ones is the modern and more appropriate approach.
“That is because most individuals with psychiatric concerns are much more likely to be victims or harm themselves than others,’’ added the First Lady — the face of the city’s widely panned $1.25 billion ThriveNYC mental-healthcare program.
“Of the more than 170,000 mental health calls to 9-1-1 last year … the majority concern people who just needed help,’’ she said.
The idea behind the project is to help de-escalate tensions between the NYPD and communities over cops’ handling of mental-health calls by taking police out of the equation all together for most such 911 emergencies.
ThriveNYC — which has been accused for years of failing to properly detail its spending or how it is meeting its main goal of connecting the mentally ill with services — “will provide programmatic oversight for this pilot,” the press release said.
Most recently, ThriveNYC also has been accused of being virtually AWOL amid the city’s homeless crisis.
The new pilot project’s mental-health response teams will include FDNY EMS workers, city officials said.
FDNY dispatchers will decide when to call these special teams to scenes instead of cops, the city said. If things look violent, then the NYPD will get involved, officials said.
The project was revealed a little over a year after the mayor announced a related, never-launched pilot program involving teams of cops and mental-health workers responding together to scenes.
That program, announced in October 2019, failed to get off the ground because of COVID-19, the administration told The Post on Tuesday.
“We’re still determining when and how best to launch the program,” a rep said in an e-mail.
The city said in the press release for the new plan, “This pilot represents a concerted effort by FDNY,[Health+Hospitals], [city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene], the NYPD, and the Mayor’s Office of ThriveNYC to move towards a more health-centered approach.”
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