California's Newsom releases plan to address rampant homelessness, orders drug, mental health help

The plan is awaiting approval in the California legislature.

Updated: March 4, 2022 - 2:23pm

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom is unveiling his new plan to address the state's rampant homeless problem – requiring counties provide mandatory substance and mental health evaluations for residents without a home.

The Democrat governor's "Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment Court" mandates all 58 counties provide free and comprehensive treatment cycle to their homeless residents.

Newsom when announcing the plan Thursday CARE Court is about "meeting people where they are and acting with compassion to support the thousands of Californians living on our streets with severe mental health and substance use disorders. 

"We are taking action to break the pattern that leaves people without hope and cycling repeatedly through homelessness and incarceration."

However, the court-ordered program, or plan, still must be approved by the state legislature.

Newsom does not appear to be asking specific money to be earmarked for the plan. However, he allocated $12 billion for homelessness in the state budget last year and proposed an additional $2 billion in his January financial blueprint, according to the Los Angeles Times

Experts largely agree that Mental-health and drug and alcohol problems are major factors in homelessness. However, California's high housing costs has compounded the problem in that state. 

The plan, if approved, will encourage community members and family members, as well as medical and mental health care professionals, to refer homeless people to the service program help them before they are "hospitalized or arrested."

The service plans may last up to one or two years, and involve individualized treatment plans, stabilizing medication and housing assistance.

Individuals placed in the program will also be assigned a public defender and a sponsor who will help them make "self-directed care decisions."

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