May 27, 2024

Mayors say cities need to address housing, mental health issues to deal with crime 

Mayors across four cities in the United States discussed how officials need to deal with lack of housing, mental health crises and gun reforms to address crime in a NewsNation town hall on Monday.

Chris Cuomo hosted a town hall edition of his “Cuomo” show on NewsNation with the mayors of four major cities: Little Rock, Ark., Hartford, Conn., Durham, N.C. and Toledo, Ohio. During the town hall, Cuomo and audience members asked the four mayors how officials should address crime in their own cities.

The mayors touched on topics like housing crises, mental health and gun reform when answering questions. Durham Mayor Elaine O’Neal (D) said that crime cannot be solved without first address the “housing crisis” plaguing cities throughout the U.S.

“It all comes down to really one basic thing in my mind that we have to address if we’re going to deal with these issues — housing. There’s a housing crisis,” O’Neal said. “When people do not have a place to live that is safe and where they can begin to have a life, you create a life where you are.”

“And then we don’t have a housing crisis in terms of a stock, we have an affordability crisis and people got to realize that,” she added.

She also noted the racial disparities in housing, saying that Black Americans are more likely to face housing insecurity.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin (D) said that there is a “failure” of systems across the country to address mental health issues. He said that supportive housing and community-based programs could be a more effective approach to addressing mental health issues before they escalate, but that most places lack the capacity to provide that support.

“And I do think this is as a nation across the country, a failure of systems and a failure of us as a society to recognize that we have to do more,” he said. “And I think in some cases, that may mean that you have to compel people to get treated.”

Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz (D) said while mental health is important to address, politicians should not “hide” behind it to address gun violence.

“I bristle though when there are politicians who sometimes hide behind mental illness as an excuse not to take stronger action on guns in general,” he said. “Here’s where I’m headed with this. We’re the only — we’re the only country in the history of the world where there are more guns than people.”

“It shouldn’t be going out on a limb to try to take AR-15s away from the mentally ill and terrorists, but yet our US Senate won’t do it and our Supreme Court doesn’t seem to care,” he added.

NewsNation is owned by Nexstar Media Group, which owns and operates dozens of local news stations around the country and purchased The Hill in 2021.

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