Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Wednesday the centerpiece of his latest push to address California’s escalating homeless crisis, a program to compel residents struggling with mental health and addiction into court-ordered treatment.
Surrounded by elected officials and behavioral health providers in San Jose, Newsom signed legislation to create a new civil court system — the Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment Court, or CARE Court — intended to provide treatment and housing for people who are suffering from severe forms of mental illness and are unable to care for themselves.
CARE Court received overwhelming, bipartisan support from the Legislature and comes at a time when California is investing a record $14.7 billion in funding for housing and homelessness support and more than $11.6 billion annually in mental health throughout the state
Governor Gavin Newsom
BOSS began in 1971 as a grassroots response to help unhoused mentally ill individuals -- our programs and services have grown over the past five decades to encompass support for all low-income, disabled, and unhoused individuals, families, and communities across Alameda County.
The first thing that we do is build a trusting relationship with the person. We aim to meet them where they are, on their time. And that may take a while. We want to create an oasis so that when they come through our doors, they feel safe, they feel that they belong, they feel respected, and they feel loved. The hope is that, as we're training these values to them, they will learn to extend this to themselves and other people, to their children, to their family, to their neighbors -
“Tackling the Root Causes of Poverty and Homelessness.” Donald Frazier, CEO Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency :
According to the state, the newly signed bill will give those on the ground the ability to put those struggling into the system by providing a court-ordered care plan. Governor Newsom calls it new hope for thousands suffering from severe forms of mental health such as schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders. It's meant to prevent more restrictive conservatorships or incarceration and instead stabilize and support this specific community. Court-ordered care plans will last up to 24 months and be managed by a care team. It will provide everything from medications to housing plans.
This is a new paradigm - to continue to do what you’ve done and you’ll get what you got. And look what we got. It’s unacceptable.
Governor Gavin Newsom
Real responsibility is also included in this law for local governments that disregard court-ordered treatment regimens. The CARE Act encourages self-direction while safeguarding civil rights, and holds those in need of care accountable for participating in treatment.
BOSS programs are innovative, based in evidence-based practices and proven methodologies, and emphasize lived experience: across BOSS over 70% of staff (90% in reentry programs) have personal experience with the same issues faced by current participants.
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