Los Angeles County Proposition 63 Plan Includes Several New Centers
Mental health patients, health care providers and family members of people with mental illnesses at a public hearing last week expressed support for a comprehensive treatment approach -- including housing facilities and outpatient support services -- outlined in the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health's proposed spending plan for funds from Proposition 63, the Los Angeles Times reports. State voters passed Proposition 63 in November 2004, increasing the state income tax by 1% for state residents whose annual incomes exceed $1 million to fund mental health services (Rivera, Los Angeles Times, 9/26).
The plan, which was approved by the county Mental Health Commission on Sept. 20, will be considered by the Board of Supervisors on Oct. 11 (California Healthline, 9/22).
According to the Times, the plan "generally won praise" from mental health advocates at the hearing, although "[s]everal speakers cautioned that the county should be monitored closely to ensure that promised changes are implemented."
Under the plan, the county would work with established comprehensive care facilities that provide treatment, support, housing and employment services. The Times reports that the plan would use Proposition 63 funding to create:
- 24-hour "safe havens" with semiprivate rooms for homeless people with mental illnesses;
- Client-run support and peer counseling centers for the general public;
- Urgent care centers to treat patients who do not require hospitalization; and
- Drop-in centers to serve 16- to 25-year-olds.
County officials estimate the new programs would provide treatment for more than 45,000 children and adults with mental illnesses over the next three years, with additional services for about 100,000 family members and residents with less-severe mental health conditions (Los Angeles Times, 9/26).
KCRW's "Which Way, L.A.?" on Monday included a discussion of whether Proposition 63 will assist efforts to provide services to the mentally ill homeless population in the county. Guests on the program included:
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca;
- Casey Horan, executive director of Lamp Community, a Los Angeles not-for-profit organization providing holistic, integrated housing and support services for mentally ill homeless individuals;
- Los Angeles City Council member Jan Perry; and
- Paul Tepper, director of the Institute for the Study of Homelessness and Poverty (Olney, "Which Way, L.A.?," KCRW, 9/26).