Newsom’s Mental Health Care Plan for Homelessness Advancement
Critics say there aren’t enough beds, homes, or therapists for the program to work.
Sacramento, California — California Governor Gavin Newsom A controversial proposal to refer homeless people with severe mental disorders to treatment passed state legislatures on Tuesday, ruling that it will be used to force homeless residents into care they don’t want. Despite opposition from fearful civil liberties defenders, it is becoming law.
Homeless people with severe mental health disorders often cycle between streets, prisons and hospitals, with no organization responsible for their well-being. They can be held against their will in a psychiatric hospital for up to 72 hours. However, once stabilized, those who have agreed to continue medication and follow up services must be released.
The bill, which the state legislature approved in a 60-to-2 vote on Tuesday, was brought in by families, first responders and others on behalf of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia and certain other disorders. Requires the county to establish a special civil court to process petitions. mental disorder.
Courts can order plans for up to 12 months and can be renewed for additional 12 months. Individuals facing criminal charges can avoid punishment by completing a mental health treatment plan. Those who do not agree to a treatment plan may be forced to do so. Newsom said these courts hope to catch people before they end up in the criminal justice system.
The bill represents a new approach to addressing homelessness, a crisis California has struggled with for decades. State governments spend billions of dollars on the problem each year, yet ordinary citizens are seeing little progress on the streets.
Democratic Rep. Mike Gipson, who voted for the bill, said, “I believe this bill gives us an opportunity to write a new story.
The bill has now passed both houses of the state legislature, and we need one more vote in the state Senate before we get to Newsom’s desk. Newsom said he should sign the law by the end of September.
The proposal was widely supported by lawmakers who said it was clear California had to do something about the mental health crisis seen along highways and on city streets. It has told harrowing stories of watching loved ones move in and out of temporary psychiatric wards without mechanisms to stabilize them in long-term treatment plans.
Republican Rep. Suzette Martinez Valladares said her cousin, a Vietnam War veteran, lived on the streets in a homeless camp before his death.
“I wish my family had the tools this bill would bring so he could still be alive and with us.” ”
Opponents of the law have argued that the state does not have enough homes, treatment beds, outreach workers and therapists to care for those in need. They say those who choose to accept treatment are much more likely to be successful than those who are forced into it.
“At what point does compassion end and our desire to get people off the streets and out of our public sphere begins?” the lawmaker said. “I don’t think it’s a great bill. But trying to improve a horrible situation seems like the best idea we have at the moment.”
Under the measure, Glen, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne counties will have courts by October 1, 2023, and the remaining counties will have courts by December 1, 2024. says it must.
Courts can impose fines of up to $1,000 per day for violations. The county believes it is unfair when there is insufficient state support for housing and behavioral health workers.
Democrat Rep. Steve Bennett, who voted for the bill, said, “There may not be a perfect solution to this problem. It’s too easy to do nothing.” .
Herr reported from San Francisco.
Who’s Responsible for Sacramento’s Growing Homeless Crisis? ABC10 original