It’s simply inhumane to allow people to live on the street. As a society – we can do better. Some may say it’s inhumane to force people off the streets and into treatment, but I think it’s more inhumane to keep people on the streets.
Behavioral health and homelessness goes hand and hand. It's also a major issue that continues to grow during COVID-19. We’ve all seen people on the side of the street or know of friends or family members in crisis in need of help and, unfortunately, North County has been under-resourced. I'm pleased to say over the past three years we've made major strides in behavioral health resources, allocating $140 million in new projects.
A few months ago, I was part of a ribbon-cutting for the new Crisis Stabilization Unit in Vista. This is a place open to family members, law enforcement, and others to take those suffering from a mental health episode to be evaluated. Also, I've continued to work with the City of Oceanside and County Behavioral Health Services to open a Crisis Stabilization Center at the Live Well Center in Oceanside.
This will be open, later this year!
A couple of years ago, I authored a Board Letter to partner with Tri-City Medical Center to build a 16-bed Psychiatric Health Facility for those in extreme crisis that will be open to all residents. This will help our police officers who need to be out patrolling rather than driving those suffering behavioral health issues down to the City of San Diego. We are expecting to break ground on this facility, shortly.
On April 6th, 2021 I initiated action to provide 15 new staff members to support North County cities and those experiencing homelessness. This developed a pilot program for North County, which provides an outreach staff and highly qualified social workers in each North County city. This has provided those needing assistance with the help they need.
Last year, I authored a Board Letter to expand Behavioral Health Court (BHC) in San Diego County. This program helps individuals already involved with the criminal justice-system that suffer from serious mental illness. BHC offers wraparound mental health treatment outside of jail that includes housing, employment assistance, and education. The participants are held accountable and must follow the protocols established by the judge. Behavioral Health Court Probation is an excellent program that provides a second chance to many who otherwise would not receive these specialized services and continue to recycle through the criminal justice system.
Those are just a few items I'm working on when it comes to homelessness and Behavioral Health. If there's something you would like to see addressed, please email me: [email protected], and my office will get back to you shortly!