Sacramento County Preserves Project HOPE, Cuts Health-Related Jobs
The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors yesterday voted to continue Project HOPE, a program through which law enforcement officers and social workers help homeless people with mental illnesses receive access to treatment services, the Sacramento Bee reports. The board also requested a report within 30 days on the program's funding. The program, which costs $238,500 annually, has assisted more than 2,000 people in the county since November 1999. Some county officials had suggested stopping the program after Gov. Gray Davis (D) vetoed $10 million in state funding for mental health services for homeless adults statewide. However, according to the staff of Assembly member Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), who sponsored the bills authorizing Project HOPE programs, the veto only affects funding for counties just starting such programs; Sacramento County's program began in 1999. The state has yet to act on a proposal that would increase funding for new programs by reducing the money available to counties with established programs, according to Stephen Mayberg, head of the Department of Mental Health. Meanwhile, the Sacramento County supervisors yesterday also voted to eliminate 55 vacant jobs and "use one-time funds to cover the loss of $7.9 million" to various local health programs as a result of several recent Davis vetoes designed to close the state's estimated $24 billion budget gap. "This is only the tip of the iceberg of what looks to be significant reductions to come," Penelope Clarke, administrator of the county Public Protection and Human Assistance Agency, said (Dávila, Sacramento Bee, 10/9).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.