Bill de Blasio’s wife Chirlane McCray cannot explain where $850million given to the mental health program she champions has gone, according to reports.
In the three years it has been running, organizers at ThriveNYC have largely failed to keep records of the initiative’s achievements – and data that has been collected shows it lagging well behind targets.
Despite that, the program has been granted an even bigger budget going forward and is now on track to spend $1billion over five years.
The data comes from a Politico report that shows those running the scheme have largely failed to measure its impact or keep track of spending.
Thrive said it has developed a list of 417 metrics to measure how effective the program is moving forward, but asked to assess its impact so far, Politico said the data was piecemeal and showed a largely failing picture.
For example, 29 hospitals had agreed to screen almost 78,000 new mothers for post-natal depression each year as part of the scheme.
But over the course of two years between 2016 and 2018 the hospital screened a little over 28,000 patients and just 570 were offered help, a fraction of the 12,000 to 15,000 who were estimated to need care.
The data also showed almost 190,000 Narcan kits were handed out to hospital where opioid use is common, but there is no evidence of how many were used.
The site said it had tried and failed to acquire a line-item budget from Thrive, and the two budget breakdowns it had seen showed wildly different numbers.
One, from from City Hall, showed $594million in spending, but a second, from the Independent Budget Office, showed $816milion.
Speaking to the Post, Queens Councilman Robert Holden told the New York Post: ‘I like the fact that money is going toward mental health, but when they say we’re seeing a benefit in all areas, I take exception to that, because I don’t see it everywhere. I’m not sure anybody does.’
Meanwhile de Blasio announced earlier this week that he is mothballing his failed Renewal school program after spending $773million.
The aim of the scheme was to improve 100 of New York’s worst schools, but after three years of trying, just 25 of them improved enough to make it off the list.
Meanwhile, the same number either closed or were merged with other schools while under the initiative.