“Healing with Housing: Decriminalizing the Unhoused & Mentally Ill,” presented by BRIC TV in partnership with The City, will bring together experts and leaders to discuss the housing crisis facing communities throughout Brooklyn and the impact of different strategies to mitigate harm and create pathways towards economic justice.
A recent policy targeting unhoused New Yorkers sent waves across the city. This policy states that unhoused individuals who appear mentally ill can be forcibly hospitalized, raising serious questions about our treatment of those battling mental illness.
Many of society’s most vulnerable groups live at the intersection of mental health issues and housing displacement, as seen across populations such as those struggling with substance abuse, the formerly incarcerated, youth aging out of the foster care system, LGBTQ youth, and seniors. Many of these groups are also more likely to experience increased involvement with the criminal justice system and over-policing.
As we bring together a panel of experts, this town hall asks: is there a more proactive and sustainable approach to engaging with those living at the intersection of mental health issues and housing insecurity? How can we create a meaningful system of care while not compromising basic human and civil rights?
#BHEARD TOWN HALL PANELISTS
NYC Council Member, Crystal Hudson
Crystal Hudson is the Council Member for New York City’s District 35 in Brooklyn, representing the neighborhoods of Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and parts of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant. She was elected in 2021 and made history as one of the first out gay Black women ever elected in New York City. Crystal is a community organizer and public servant committed to making government more accessible for more people and delivering a just recovery for all New Yorkers in the wake of a global pandemic, economic crisis, and racial reckoning. Crystal serves on the Committee for Housing and Building Committee and the Committee for Health.
Norman Siegel, Civil Rights, Civil Liberties Lawyer
Norman Siegel is a civil rights and civil liberties lawyer who in 1968, joined the American Civil Liberties Union’s Southern Justice and Voting Law Project and later became New York Civil Liberties Union’s Executive Director. Norman was on the frontline in some of New York City’s most critical civil rights and civil liberties struggles; including the battle against involuntary hospitalization of people with mental illness; the struggle for improved community-police relations and greater accountability on the part of the NYPD. Norman helped initiate an organization called the Street Homeless Advocacy Project or SHAP and is a frequent contributor to many of the city’s major newspapers and appears often in broadcast media, contributing to and enriching the debate on civil rights, race relations and civil liberties.
Alyssa Katz, Executive Editor, The City
Alyssa Katz is executive editor of THE CITY and a former member of the NY Daily News editorial board. Previously, Katz was editor of The New York World and City Limits. She is the author of “The Influence Machine: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Capture of American Life” and “Our Lot: How Real Estate Came to Own Us.”
@alykatzz | Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn
Bridgette Callaghan, Vice President of Intensive Mobile Treatment (IMT) Programs at the Institute of Community Living (ICL)
Bridgette Callaghan, LCSW (she/her/hers) is the Vice President of Intensive Mobile Treatment (IMT) Programs at the Institute of Community Living (ICL). Bridgette has worked with ICL for the last 4.5 years helping to create their first IMT programs. Prior to ICL, she worked as a child and family therapist in Jersey City. Bridgette also operates her own private practice, Bespoke Therapy LLC working predominantly with LGBTQ+ individuals/couples.
@bcallaghanLCSW | Instagram
Devone Nash , Mental Health Advocate
Devone Nash is formerly incarcerated, formerly unhoused, and received a B.S. in Psychology from Medgar Evers College.
Celina Trowell, LMSW
Homelessness Union Organizer/ VOCAL-NY
Celina Trowell is a community organizer and social worker with over a decade of experience in social services, homeless advocacy and healthcare case management for community members living with chronic medical, mental health, and/or HIV/AIDS. In the last quarter of that decade Celina has shifted focus to the macro field, working to challenge the systems oppression that hold the foundation of structural racism. Celina currently works at VOCAL-NY, a statewide grassroots membership -led organization that builds political power among community members impacted by homelessness, mass incarceration, HIV/AIDS and the drug war. As the Homelessness Union organizer, Celina organizes homeless New Yorkers to drive political & social campaigns that demand immediate material gains that will end the homelessness crisis.
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