SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D – Santa Monica) released the following statement on his bill, AB 2830, which is one of two bills that will help establish Governor Newsom’s vision for “CARE Courts” in California. The CARE Court model provides the State of California with an innovative and much-needed approach to assist some of State’s most vulnerable who are struggling with untreated, severe mental health disorders that are often compounded by substance use and homelessness:
“I applaud Governor Newsom’s vision for CARE Courts and I am pleased to be working with the Administration and the Leadership of both houses on AB 2830, one of two legislative vehicles, which will establish the statutory framework to implement the CARE Court model. To better address these issues, California must provide better means to ensure that those struggling with mental illness and substance use disorders receive the treatment, resources, support and housing that they need and deserve.
“The unfortunate reality is that many of the same individuals who are suffering with untreated mental health and substance use disorders are also experiencing homelessness,” said Assemblymember Bloom.
The 2020 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count identified 63,706 homeless individuals and of that total, 14,125 individuals were recorded as having a serious mental illness with an additional 15,203 individuals suffering from substance use disorder. The 15,203 individuals identified with substance abuse disorders represent a 109% increase since the 2019 homeless count. Of those individuals, 11,711 suffering from serious mental illness and 14,284 suffering from substance use disorder were unsheltered.
“As we develop the CARE Court model and legislation, we must ensure that Judges have the right tools at their disposal to best aid Californians who are suffering on our streets. To that end, I have already begun engaging stakeholders for their feedback on how to ensure this approach is not only successful, but dignified.
“The CARE Court is intended to work as a supportive system of compassion – not a punitive one – for our unhoused neighbors who are struggling to recover and heal. Therefore, it is imperative that individuals who are participating in the CARE Plan have suitable housing options and access to the services and support that they need in order to achieve sobriety and health.
“To the greatest extent feasible, I am committed ensuring that those who enroll in these programs are able to remain within their communities, placed in appropriate housing for their treatment, and will receive the services that they need to recover.
“Governor Newsom’s bold proposal calls for the use of ‘supporters’ who will fulfill an additional personalized support role. These ‘supporters” are to be carefully vetted and given the training and support they will need to personally advocate on behalf of those they are trying to help. Every aspect of the CARE Court Model must be collaborative while including the resources to sustain, train, and support of the State in this endeavor.
“As a former Mayor who helped create and sustain a Homeless Court in Santa Monica, I am optimistic that a carefully crafted CARE Court model will provide real benefits for the most vulnerable members of our communities. I am fully committed to doing everything I can to work with all stakeholders in order to ensure their successful implementation and long-term operation,” concluded Assemblymember Bloom.