December 10, 2023

Governor Gavin Newsom gathered with civic leaders at Los Angeles Basic Medical Heart on Thursday, Oct. 12 to have fun the signing of two legal guidelines supposed to rework the state’s method to the dual crises of homelessness and psychological well being.

The primary regulation, AB 531, seeks to create 11,150 psychological well being remedy beds and supportive housing models by inserting Proposition 1, a $6.38 billion bond measure, on the March 2024 poll for voters to resolve. About $1 billion of that funding can be reserved for veterans.

The second regulation, SB 326, goals to modernize the Psychological Well being Providers Act of 2004 by requiring that counties spend 30% of the act’s funding on housing. This alteration will even seem on the poll as a part of Prop. 1.

The 2 payments try to make sure all Californians can entry top quality psychological well being sources, together with direly wanted residential remedy beds, in addition to steady supportive properties wherein to get well.

“Right this moment marks a robust and necessary milestone that we’re shifting past figuring out points, to a paradigm shift to start the method of being accountable to resolve them,” mentioned Newsom.

In L.A. County particularly, the reallocation of Psychological Well being Providers Act funding would lead to a roughly $1.47 billion enhance for supportive housing and rental subsidies within the 2023 to 2024 fiscal yr.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, who has made preventing homelessness her cornerstone subject, praised the brand new legal guidelines for recognizing the interdependent nature of being with no house and affected by psychological sickness.

“Everyone knows that we can not deal with the unhoused inhabitants if we don’t deal with psychological well being and substance abuse on the identical time,” she mentioned. “I’d ask everyone right here, how they could take care of their psychological well being and substance abuse vulnerability in the event that they had been dwelling in a tent for a month or every week.”

Not everyone seems to be happy by the brand new legal guidelines. A coalition of psychological well being advocates and supporters have declared their opposition to Prop. 1.

The group, Californians In opposition to Proposition 1, fears that diverting MHSA funding to housing will defund current neighborhood psychological well being providers and result in competitors over the remaining cash.

“Monetary assist for a wide selection of efficient, voluntary, evidence-based, community-based, accessible, service choices can be dramatically reduce,” the coalition acknowledged. “Additionally on the chopping block is likely one of the solely funding sources for peer assist and culturally responsive psychological well being providers for racial and ethnic minority communities.”

Californians In opposition to Proposition 1 coalition members are additionally upset by last-minute modifications to the bond measure’s language that enable funding to be utilized to locked remedy services.

“They could have achieved true consensus on this measure if that they had not so crassly attacked the funding lifeline that so many applications depend upon in the present day or launched compelled remedy into the invoice on the final minute,” acknowledged the coalition. “Our neighborhood sees, hears and feels this as disrespect, and we concern for our bodily autonomy and freedom.”

Different psychological well being organizations praised the reforms to the Psychological Well being Providers Act in addition to the funding offered by the brand new laws.

Jolissa Hebard, a consultant for the Nationwide Alliance on Psychological Sickness, spoke of her private expertise with psychological sickness — having a veteran father with PTSD, a mom with despair, a sister with bipolar dysfunction and a son who’s a suicide try survivor.

“The Psychological Well being Providers Act offered a lot development and a lot alternative over the past 20 years,” she mentioned. “Now we get to be a part of the change that’s going to permit households, folks with psychological well being situations, legislators, public officers, to construct a greater system inside California for our family members.”