Acquanetta Warren – Press Telegram

California’s homelessness and mental health crisis is out of control and people want our state lawmakers to take immediate action.

Cities are at the forefront of this problem with tents and campgrounds lining our sidewalks, parks, and public spaces. Aggressive action must be taken now.

Small home camps and temporary shelters were not enough to offer homeless people a path to stable housing. This epidemic is more than just a lack of affordable housing and it is time for us to publicly acknowledge it and start addressing all challenges systematically.

It is inhumane to leave people struggling with mental health problems or substance abuse without the treatment and care they desperately need. Under the proposal of the governor’s Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Court, our state can offer support to thousands of Californians with untreated schizophrenia, psychotic disorders, and substance abuse problems who often experience homelessness, incarceration, institutionalization or premature death. Through a community-driven approach, CARE Court protects the rights of individuals while helping them access housing, treatment and care.

As the world’s fifth largest economy, California can no longer allow people with mental health problems to become homeless without treatment or housing. I now call this epidemic “mental health homelessness.” Mental health has plagued the homeless population and their families, especially in black and brown communities. It is time to transform a broken system and Fontana is ready to take the lead and once again set the example for other cities to follow.

With the help of the U.S. Rescue Plan and Congressional funding, the city of Fontana is working to establish the region’s first Homelessness Prevention, Resource, and Care Center that will address homelessness on an individual level. In addition, the City Council of Fontana has formed a special team of lifeguards to address this issue directly. The Community Outreach and Support Team (COAST) is a multidisciplinary team of professionals trained to address and respond to those experiencing a mental health episode in hopes of avoiding a crisis event that may have historically led to incarceration. This team is made up of a Fontana police officer, a San Bernardino County Behavioral Health Department social worker and a San Bernardino County Fire Department firefighter with his “Scout” support dog.

Acquanetta Warren – Press Telegram Source link Acquanetta Warren – Press Telegram

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