Jessica Seinar Andrews / Yesterday at 5:29 pm / Community, Homelessness, Local government
Senator McGuire Endorses CARE Court Mental Health Structure While Recognizing Difficult Challenge for Del Norte County
• Del Norte Oversight: State’s Proposed Mental Health CARE Court System Burdens Rural Communities
Del Norte County’s state senator announced a plan to create a crisis housing facility in the community and pledged to help Del Norte successfully launch CARE Court, the proposed county mental health system said Tuesday it would be burdensome for rural California.
State Senator Mike McGuire acknowledged that implementing the framework set out in California Senate Bill 1338—the Community Relief, Recovery, and Empowerment Act (CARE)—will be difficult for Del Norte and other rural counties. But, he said, the details are being discussed “while we’re still talking.”
“The California Association of Counties has sent a letter to the governor’s office and to the budget committee outlining their concerns,” McGuire said. Wild Rivers Outpost. “What worries them, #1, is constant funding. So, right now, we’re going to place a speaker with a three-year warranty. Another issue is related to housing – where will we place people who can be released from the 12-24 month hold? All this is being discussed as we speak.”
At a City Hall meeting at the city’s Crescent City Fire and Rescue station on Friday, McGuire discussed transportation, STAA 199/197, the Last Chance level, public health and wildfires. But it was his focus on homelessness and mental health that generated the most questions and comments from the public, including Lisa Freitas, head of the Del Norte Association of Realtors.
Freitas told the state senator that her son is currently in a mental health emergency and it has been difficult to place him in custody. She asked McGuire how soon the CARE Court structure could be implemented.
“He needs to be placed in a long-term care facility for at least six to twelve months so that the trajectory of his life can change,” she said. “This guy is out of high school and he has a future and I’m tired of keeping him out of jail and it looks like the only thing that’s going to happen is that he’s going to have to be literally arrested so he can get the type of mental health he deserves.” needed.”
McGuire cited the dismantling of public hospitals in the 1980s, pointing out that state and federal housing funding had plummeted despite significant economic growth in California. Golden State is about 2 million units short of “where we should be,” he said.
McGuire said the state has allocated a total of $14 billion for 55,000 permanent assisted housing units with mental health and addiction support services. Counties that apply for those dollars will receive funding for at least three years and will be able to provide emergency housing for those living in precarious conditions, he said.
However, noting that California’s guardianship laws were weak, McGuire said there would be 15,000 to 30,000 people who would not accept these services. According to him, this is why CARE Court is needed.
“My family is just like millions of others who have a brother or sister and an aunt and uncle who are struggling with this,” he said. “And there are some who may need extra help to overcome the hurdle of being able to help themselves.”
Through CARE Court, judges will be able to force individuals with serious mental illness and substance use disorders into treatment while providing them with assisted housing and related services.
Persons who are involuntarily hospitalized on charges of 5150 may become participants in the program; be referred to CARE Court through the criminal justice system or on the recommendation of family members, mental health providers, or first responders. In addition to the clinical team, participants will be offered the services of a public defender and an attorney who can help them make medical decisions.
Participation in CARE Court will be limited to a minimum of one year, renewable for another year, according to Cal Matters Article. All California counties will be required to participate in the program and may be fined up to $1,000 per day if they fail to provide these services.
In a letter to the bill’s sponsors, State Senators Tom Umberg and Susan Talamantes Eggman, on Tuesday, district leaders said Del Norte County lacks the capacity to implement much of what is outlined in the CARE Court. Citing CSAC and rural California officials, Del Norte regulators called on state legislators to allow CARE Court to become a pilot project.
On Friday, McGuire said he envisions a phased rollout of CARE Court over the next 24 to 36 months, but added that it would likely take five years to roll it out statewide. He expects CARE Court to be challenged in court, but said there is court precedent in the state for guardianship.
“That’s why we’re basically in the judiciary and not law enforcement or county mental health,” McGuire said.
McGuire suggested that the structure of the CARE Court, including comprehensive services and housing, would be implemented through a non-profit provider or through the Department of Health and Human Services at the county level.
As for the crisis residential center, according to McGuire, the construction of such a facility in Del Norte County is in its infancy. However, in Humboldt County, construction of a 10-12-bed facility is already well underway and the Department of Public Health has completed a solicitation process and selected a MediCal and MediCaid-reimbursed nonprofit facility.
McGuire said he also helped the county get $2.2 million to buy the facility, which the nonprofit could then upgrade, or the nonprofit to purchase the facility.
“It will be a closed facility,” he said. “It’s going to be a 30, potentially 60 day hold, and during those 30-60 days (they’ll be) stabilized, enroll them in a CARE plan and link them to a non-profit organization or the Department of Public Health depending on how the county run their system and give them a place to live.”
McGuire said he hopes to get funding to launch a similar facility in Del Norte County.
“There are facilities in San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim,” he said. There is one in San Diego. We’ll have the first two in rural California, Humboldt, and also in Del Norte County.”
McGuire also talked about STAA 197/199, a fully funded project that aims to widen three turns on US 199 and replace the 96-year-old bridge. The project also includes widening two turnoffs on State Route 197 near Ruby Van Deventer County Park.
Caltrans’ goal is to make the project safer for trucks that meet the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 (STAA) standard. However, it was associated with litigation for approximately six years.
“I strongly believe that we need to bring this highway into line with federal regulations and we need to move forward on the highway project,” McGuire said. “But this spill, which we saw along with asphalt chemicals entering the Smith River, is a wake-up call, and the wake-up call could not be louder. I believe we can make progress on expanding 199 in an environmentally friendly way, but we must move in that direction.”
McGuire also told Del Norte County residents to stay tuned for the July 12 community meeting on the Last Chance assessment.
Assemblyman Jim Wood and Congressman Jared Huffman will be in town and the meeting will provide a comprehensive update on two proposed landslide bypass scenarios 10 miles south of Crescent City.