NEWSOM PROPOSES TO FORCE SOME HOMELESS PEOPLE INTO TREATMENT
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s governor proposed a plan on Thursday to force homeless people with severe mental health and addiction disorders into treatment.
The proposal by Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, would require all counties in California to set up a mental health branch in civil court to assist people in need of help but who won’t accept services.
The state would require counties to provide comprehensive treatment to those suffering from debilitating psychosis and people would be obligated to accept the care.
Some advocates for the homeless have objected to forced care, but Newsom told the San Francisco Chronicle it is past time to talk about civil rights when people are attacking others.
His proposal would require a legislative agreement.
California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly called the plan the “beginning of a conversation about how we address one of the most important problems in California.”
He said the effort is to address what “for many of us is one of the most heartbreaking, heart-wrenching” challenges, and “that is how do we serve the needs of individuals who are the sickest of the sick?”
“It’s about a new pathway,” Ghaly said. “It’s about a paradigm shift.”
Ghaly says he expects the program could apply to 7,000 to 12,000 people in California, although not all have to be homeless.