By Leonardo Cervantes
Governor Newsom’s ambitious plan to force mentally-ill homeless into CARE Court is attainable. Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Court is a new framework to get people with mental health and substance use disorders the support and care they need.
CARE Court is aimed at helping the thousands of Californians who are suffering from untreated mental health and substance use disorders leading to homelessness, incarceration or worse.
The potential of homeless people suffering from mental illness having housing and special care is something that has been long overdue. Governor Newsom said he plans to sign Senate Bill 1338 into law in July.
Housing for the mentally ill homeless will reduce the amount of deaths in the streets. They die for a multitude of reasons like illnesses and lack of nutrition. They will also have medical assistance if needed.
If homeless people with severe mental health and addiction disorders get the proper treatment it can accelerate the process of them bettering their lives.
Providing a home for them will also reduce the amount of time they are wandering off in the streets. Unfortunately some mentally ill homeless people might get preyed upon by others because they might not be able to defend themselves.
Sadly, homeless people don’t have the option of showering daily. They will finally have hot water provided to them as some of these people may have gone weeks or months without being able to take a proper bath.
Frequent showers will reduce the amount of diseases.
Many haven’t felt the warmth of their own bed, but housing will provide them a bed to sleep in. This is an upgrade to the cold pieces of cardboard and blankets on the floor used on the street. Many homeless people are forced to live under tents and cardboard boxes.
For those that are fortunate enough to have a house and bed, they will mention how comforting their own bed is as opposed to sleeping on an unfamiliar bed or couch.
Homeless people are forced to sleep out in the streets no matter the weather condition year-round. Homeless people don’t have an alternative even if it’s raining or if there is a heatwave.
On cold fall and winter nights, homeless people don’t have the option of turning on a heater to get warm. They just have to use extra blankets to keep warm. On hot and sunny spring and summer days, they have no option to stay cool with a fan or air conditioner.
Rainy days must feel like some of the worst days of the year for homeless people because even if they use larger tents or extra cardboard, the chances that it can actually hold off water from leaking in are slim.
Weather conditions affect homeless people year-round. Fortunately, if this bill passes they will finally be able to sleep under a roof.
An individual with psychotic disorder and impaired judgment could appear before a superior court judge, who could then order the county to provide services to that person.
The care plan lasts up to 12 months, with the possibility to extend for an additional 12 months. One of the potential downsides would be for participants who are unable to complete the plan.
If a participant cannot successfully complete a care plan, the individual may be referred by the court for a conservatorship, consistent with current law.
The court-ordered treatment could potentially help the Black, Hispanic and other minority groups the most. “About 38% of Black people and 32% of Hispanic people are homeless in the city of Los Angeles,” Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority said. It’s a necessary risk in order to provide care for the homeless in California.