ADDRESSING MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGES WITHIN THE HOMELESS COMMUNITY
Posted by Councilmember Englander on February 02, 2018 at 4:26 PM
This week, City and County officials took a stand in an effort to address the mental health crisis currently afflicting many individuals experiencing homelessness. Mental illness is often a significant barrier in our efforts to help those living on the streets as many in need of intervention by mental health services will not voluntarily accept it.
The County Board of Supervisors, which oversees mental health services within Los Angeles County, took up legislation supporting State efforts to amend the definition of "gravely disabled" so that we can compel those in need to accept psychiatric and drug treatment. I authored a letter of support as well as co-sponsored a resolution in City Council in favor of this amendment.
Also this week, I cosponsored a resolution with my colleague Joe Buscaino requiring the Los Angeles County Sheriff to conduct an internal investigation and report on "patient dumping." This resolution is in response to a video filmed in San Pedro which raised grave concerns about how Sheriff deputies are handling mentally ill individuals. The video in question shows two Sheriff's vehicles dropping off an individual just within the boundaries of the City of Los Angeles effectively removing him from their own jurisdiction. The man is clearly in a state of mental and physical distress. Within two hours the LAPD and LAFD picked up the individual in response to a call and found that he had outstanding warrants for his arrest.
Addressing homelessness requires cooperation and coordination of many different entities across jurisdictions. We must investigate any incident in which a public servant abandons their responsibility to a person in need. If you witness such an incident, please record any evidence you can safely acquire and report it to my office. There are too many people doing difficult work to address this crisis for that work to be undermined by others who fail to perform their duties.
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