May 26, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Board of Supervisors Reviews Options For Helping Mentally Ill Homeless Individuals Who Refuse Treatment

The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to review its options for helping mentally ill homeless individuals who refuse treatment, including the potential for legislative changes.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger said it was time to consider changes, as the county prepares to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to counter homelessness. She estimated that about 30 percent of individuals living on the street suffer from some kind of mental illness.

“There needs to be a higher standard of mental healthcare,” Barger said in her motion. “With a short 10-year window to address homelessness using Measure H funds, the county must review and revisit the application of California’s Lanterman-Petris-Short Act to ensure that we have requisite authority to provide care for those who are suffering from mental illness and are unwilling and/or incapable of accepting care.”

The 1972 Lanterman-Petris-Short Act was designed to safeguard rights of the mentally ill and end the indefinite, involuntary commitment of those suffering from mental illness.

Barger said the law limits options to help the homeless, both because the standards to commit someone to treatment are difficult to meet and because the typical time limit for mandated treatment is 72 hours. As a result, some mentally ill homeless end up “hospitalized in our jails,” she said.

Department of Mental Health Director Dr. Jonathan Sherin agreed that too many of the resources for the mentally ill exist in jails and other “punitive environments … not designed for people to flourish.”

However, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl raised civil rights concerns and skepticism about efforts to “help” those who don’t want it.

“Let us be honest about how we draw the line,” Kuehl told her colleagues.

She warned that the county could end up taking on the responsibility for defining who is severely impaired, a decision typically left to the courts.

When Kuehl asked Sherin how he would approach the review, he told her, “We need to exhaust all options that are available to us currently,” but added that he was interested in “new care models.”

Sherin said the reassessment would include a fresh look at Laura’s Law, a state law that allows courts to mandate outpatient treatment for severely mentally ill individuals.

Carolyn Kelly, chair of the county’s mental health commission, echoed Kuehl’s interest in allowing mentally ill individuals to maintain their autonomy.

“Nothing about us without us … is something we want to very much honor,” Kelly said.

Kelly asked that the District Attorney’s Office be looped into the conversation as soon as possible, telling the board that enforcement and application of regulations is more important than the language of any law.

Just how many people would be affected by changes in the law or its application was another subject of debate.

The nonprofit organization Step Up on Second houses hundreds of people with serious and persistent mental illness who have been without a home of their own for decades, said Step Up CEO Tod Lipka. He told the board that “just 2-3 percent” need a new approach, while Barger said a “significant segment” of the chronically homeless population would benefit.

A report back is expected in 45 days.

Homeless B&W

in News
Related Posts

John Adams Middle School Student Selected to Perform at Carnegie Hall

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

JAMS Student Grayson Fitzgerald named junior finalist for the 2022 middle school honors performance series at Carnegie Hall By Staff...

SMC Student Film “The War Within” Accepted into 2022 American Pavilion at Cannes

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

Three Santa Monica College Films Will Screen at In-Person Festival, including 2021 Best Student Film Winner “Broken Layers” and 2020’s...

Santa Monica City Council Looks to Shorten Meetings

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

Council to consider changes at Tuesday meeting By Dolores Quintana Santa Monica lawmakers are considering taking steps to shorten City...

Landmark Theater Official Closes on Pico

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

Pico Boulevard location closes Sunday By Sam Catanzaro The Landmark Theater on Pico Boulevard in Westwood has officially closed.  The...

Road Closures Expected During Demolition Of Parking Structure Three: Santa Monica Beat – May 23rd, 2022

May 23, 2022

May 23, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Free Donuts At Randy’s Donuts For National Doughnut Day* Road Closures Expected...

Los Angeles Metro Sees 15.9 Percent Increase in Median Rent

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Median rent of $2,258, according to recent report By Dolores Quintana The ongoing pandemic has exacerbated the issues of housing...

New Renderings for Frank Gehry Hotel Development in Santa Monica

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Project would include hotel, apartments, retail and a museum By Dolores Quintana Slowly but surely, plans for a  Frank Gehry-designed...

Shared Mobility Plummets in Santa Monica

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Recent report also shows that nearly half of riders make over $100,000 By Sam Catanzaro Shared mobility use in Santa...

Christopher Dishlip Selected as Santa Monica’s New Assistant Director of Public Works

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Public Works Director Rick Valte announced the selection of Christopher Dishlip as Santa Monica’s new Assistant Director of Public Works....

Letter to Editor: Response to Himmelrich’s “We Walk the Talk” Column

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

By Beau Marks As a Santa Monica resident, I am dismayed by Sue Himmelrich’s response (“We Walk the Talk,” Santa...

Motional And UberEats Launch Autonomous Deliveries In Santa Monica

May 18, 2022

May 18, 2022

There Are Plans For Expansion Into The Rest Of Los Angeles Motional, a global driverless technology leader, and Uber Technologies...

Winston Pies Opening Third Location In Santa Monica

May 18, 2022

May 18, 2022

The restaurant used to be known as ButterCrust Pies Winston Pies is staying in Santa Monica when opening their third...

Only 10 Vaquita Porpoises Survive, But The Species May Not Be Doomed

May 17, 2022

May 17, 2022

Hope remains for the porpoise species not only survive but thrive with human help. By Stuart Wolpert The vaquita porpoise,...

The American Cinematheque Brings “Bleak Week” To Santa Monica’s Aero Theatre And The Los Feliz Three Theatre

May 17, 2022

May 17, 2022

33 Films From 18 Countries In One Week. By Dolores Quintana Sometimes when things are tough and you’re feeling down,...

Man Who Murdered His Family Members Pleads Guilty To Five Other Killings

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Escobar injured an additional seven other people as well.  By Dolores Quintana A man, Ramon Escobar, has pleaded guilty to...