Contact: Tony Bell, Communications Deputy
Office: (213) 974-5555 Cell: (213) 215-5176
October 13, 2009 For Immediate Release
UNITED WAY REPORT IGNORES TREATMENT FOR HOMELESS MENTALLY ILL
LOS ANGELES COUNTY -- Responding to the United Way’s report on homelessness, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said, “The disinformation created by this study is a step backward in our effort to address the homelessness problem at its core. Fundamental reform of our State’s dysfunctional mental health laws must be accomplished to effectively address homelessness. Local experience continues to demonstrate that those suffering from mental illness and/or alcohol or substance abuse require treatment. Housing alone will not solve this crisis.”
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) census figures revealed that most chronically homeless suffer from mental illness and/or addiction to drugs and alcohol.
“While community-based treatment facilities, stabilization centers, family access centers and transitional housing are valuable temporary tools to treat symptoms of homelessness, they must provide proactive access to medical treatment that addresses mental illness and rehabilitation for alcohol/drug addition,” he added. “Without fundamental reform of the state’s mental health laws, the homeless are locked in a broken system of warehousing without healing.”