Number of Homeless, Mentally Ill People in Alameda County Up 35%
The number of homeless individuals with mental illness in Alameda County has increased by 35% in the past two years, according to a report released by EveryOne Home on Tuesday, the Oakland Tribune/Contra Costa Times reports.
Details of Report
The report -- which is based on a census taken earlier this year -- found that there were 1,106 homeless individuals with mental illness in the county, up from 818 in 2011.
Over the past decade, the number of such individuals has doubled, according to the Tribune/Times.
In addition, about one-third of more than 4,200 homeless individuals in the county reported having a chronic substance use problem.
Reasons for Increase
Elaine de Coligny, executive director of EveryOne Home, suggested that the increase was caused by a lack of resources for providing permanent, secure housing for homeless individuals with mental illnesses.
She said funding under Proposition 63 -- also known as the Mental Health Services Act -- helped provide housing for many homeless individuals with mental illnesses in 2006 and 2007, but the money has since been used to sustain those individuals instead of offer housing to others.
Michael Nelson, program manager at Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency, said other possible reasons for the increase in homeless individuals in the county include:
- A better awareness of mental health issues by those surveyed; and
- Homelessness triggering mental illness.
Iverson Eicken, a psychologist and clinical director of BOSS, said that individuals with mental illness who go off their medication could end up homeless as a result (Oakley, Oakland Tribune/Contra Costa Times, 11/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.