California needs public health responses to behavioral health needsFrom San Francisco to Los Angeles, there is a crisis on California streets. Our state’s failure to adequately treat and house people with behavioral health needs has led to surges of overdose deaths, overflowing tents on our streets, and concerns about public safety. We believe our government can do better to promote public safety by prioritizing resources on expanding treatment and housing.
As we emerge from the pandemic, now is the time for change. And we have cause to hope. Voters in San Francisco and Los Angeles have supported increasing funds for housing the homeless. Both counties have shut down jails and diverted resources to treatment. Assembly Bill 369 and Senate Bill 679, both making their way through the legislative process, would expand Medi-Cal access to people experiencing homelessness and provide state support to create affordable housing in Los Angeles. We still have far to go, however.