Plan to push homeless, mentally ill substance users into treatment meets with resistance

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

Supervisor Rafael Mandelman said his colleagues were making a “terrible mistake” Monday after his legislation to compel homeless people who are mentally ill and substance users into treatment met with a lack of support in committee.

The Board of Supervisors Rules Committee postponed to next week a vote on the proposal, which was introduced with Mayor London Breed, after its three members raised a number of concerns about costs and the adequacy of resources for the program. Committee members also questioned whether forced treatment works and whether the proposal would have a disproportionate impact on people of color…

After the hearing, Mandelman said: “‘I’m glad they didn’t kill it. I am disappointed that they didn’t pass it on with a positive recommendation.”… (more)

This is a real important problem that needs very careful consideration. Many questions were not answered at the hearing. There is a lack of capacity to serve people who request assistance. How will limited resources be allocated without hurting those who ask for help? There was also a question about the process for getting people into court that went unanswered.

We notice many bills that suggest the solution for difficult problems is to set up a new bureaucratic government agency with a budget that is authorized to solve a difficult problem and by setting its own policies and priorities. This has not worked well lately.

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