Psychiatry takes to the streets: the New York City initiative for the homeless mentally ill

Am J Psychiatry. 1990 Nov;147(11):1557-61. doi: 10.1176/ajp.147.11.1557.


The authors describe New York City's program to remove seriously mentally ill homeless people from the streets to a public hospital. They report on the 298 patients hospitalized during the first year of this program. Most of the patients were male (66%), single (77%), and from outside of New York City (79%) and claimed a history of previous psychiatric hospitalization (92%) and that they had been homeless for more than 1 year (66%). Most of the patients suffered from schizophrenia (80%) and had additional medical diagnoses (73%). Follow-up contact with the patients 2 years after initiation of the program revealed that 55% of the patients either were living in a community setting or were under institutional care.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Community Mental Health Services / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Community Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Policy
  • Health Services Research
  • Hospitalization / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Hospitals, Public
  • Humans
  • Ill-Housed Persons / psychology*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • New York City
  • Program Evaluation