Homelessness is a public health crisis. I say it often, but as a society, we can and should do better! It’s simply inhumane to allow people to live on the street. In North County, we've led the way when it comes to helping people into treatment.
While there's still work to be done, I wanted to share a success story when it comes to those suffering on the street.
In 2021, I put forward legislation for a pilot program, to develop a Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT). They go out into the community and deliver no-cost, in-person support via a non-law enforcement team comprised of a mental health clinician, a case manager, and a trained peer support specialist.
Since the program was launched in 2021, the team has helped over 3,500 people in San Diego County. Approximately 51% were stabilized in the field with referrals to ongoing care and without the need for additional transport, reducing the need for law enforcement services and utilization of more expensive, and acute services.
Nearly 45% of individuals served were successfully connected to treatment either immediately or within 30 days post-initial contact. The table below reflects clients who were connected to the following programs:
Three of the six Crisis Stabilization Units (CSU) are in North County and have opened in the past four years. I'm pleased to see the MCRT teams are utilizing these CSU's and getting people into treatment.
These are safe places for someone suffering from a mental health crisis and allows them to get the necessary help they need.
Currently, the number one provider for those suffering from mental health issues and addiction is County jail. People left untreated on our streets become out-of-control and desperate, and many ultimately require law enforcement intervention. CSUs provide a more productive and better alternative for law enforcement than jails or emergency rooms.
Again, we know there's more work to be done, but I wanted to share the significant progress that is occurring in North County.
Along with homelessness, we must make housing more affordable in San Diego County. It's imperative that our seniors are not run out of the County, or worse, put out on our streets, by rising costs and that our young families are able to afford to live here.
Last week, we broke ground on the Greenbrier Village, which will house low-income individuals and individuals that are on the brink of homelessness.
The Housing Foundation, Interfaith Community Services, and San Ysidro Health will provide onsite supportive services to help residents and end the cycle of individuals ending up right back on the street.