Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced $518.5 million in grants to help provide services and housing options throughout the state to those with severe mental illness or substance abuse problems, including those living on the streets.
San Diego County will be awarded $30,874,411 in grants. According to Newsom’s office, the funds will be delivered through the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure Program (BHCIP) Round 3: Launch Ready grants.
The funding will provide treatment beds for more than 1,000 people at a time, behavioral health services, and more. The newly announced grants are a part of a $2.2 billion effort to expand mental health housing and services across California, especially for people experiencing homelessness.
“The crisis on our streets is at a breaking point. Too many Californians are struggling with mental illness and substance abuse, and many of them end up on our streets. We need to change the way we deliver help to those who need it, and these grants are an important step in changing our approach to homelessness and serious mental illness,” Newsom said.
Newsom’s office said the latest funding supports the CARE Court proposal, which aims to take stronger action to get people off the streets and into a place where they can receive care.
Newsom's CARE Court proposal was introduced to the California Senate in February as the Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment Act, Senate Bill 1338. The proposed framework aims to provide Californians suffering from untreated schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders with community-based treatment, services, and housing. The framework would allow courts to counties to provide the services for individuals deemed eligible.
The CARE Court bill passed through the California Senate in May. Newsom’s office announced on June 21 that the bill cleared the Assembly Judiciary Committee in a 9 to 1 vote, advancing toward the Assembly Health Committee.
“CARE Court is about meeting people where they are and acting with compassion to support the thousands of Californians living on our streets that are hardest to reach, but who need our help the most. The proposal prioritizes the most sick for behavioral health, medication, and housing while preventing arrests and conservatorships and holding both government and participants accountable,” Newsom wrote in a press release.
The proposal is based on a preexisting Assisted Outpatient Treatment Project Act, or Laura’s Law and Lanterman-Petris-Short Act which provides for short-term and longer-term involuntary treatment and conservatorships for people who are determined to be gravely disabled.
Newsom’s office said the framework intends to serve as an upstream intervention for the most severely impaired Californians.
San Diego County supported Newsom’s court-ordered treatment plan in May.
According to the text of the legislation, the CARE Court would also specify the schedule of review hearings required if the respondent is ordered to comply with an up to one-year CARE plan by the court.