Theses Master's

Planning for Humanity: An Urban Planning Perspective on Mental Illness, Deinstitutionalization and Supportive Housing in New York City

Fesette, Emily

I set out to prove that deinstitutionalization caused a grand dis-service to the mentally ill, leaving many individuals homeless and without proper care. It was my intention to prove that while they were improperly resourced, institutions served a purpose in society. Public perception and politics played large roles in the inefficiencies of resourcing institutions and subsequent housing and housing programs for the mentally ill and mentally ill homeless. The nexus between mental illness and homelessness has been proven time and again in scholarly literature, however the nexus between deinstitutionalization and an increase in homelessness is tenuous. Though it is clear that deinstitutionalization highlights a distinct gap in service provision and housing which led to homelessness. The literature documents difficulties in housing mentally ill persons throughout the decades and also the significance in recent spikes in mentally ill homeless. Through the collection of oral histories, I have deduced that an area in which future planners should do more research is on the effects of supportive housing programs on the communities in which they are developed. Perhaps by highlighting the ways in which engaging in mental illness services and resources as a community, we may find a way to reduce or even remove the stigma which has plagued individuals with mental illness for centuries.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Hutson, Malo A.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 29, 2018