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Monday, January 4, 2016

Proposals for Homeless Funding Must Protect Local Government

Michael D. Antonovich

Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said today that any proposal to alter or redirect the use of MHSA (Mental Health Services Act) funds should enhance the County’s existing efforts to address the homeless problem.

“Funding must follow treatment needs,” said Supervisor Antonovich. “Greater flexibility means supporting effective local programs including hospitalization and family participation in recovery as well as extending supportive housing services to those leaving restrictive environments, such as jails and hospitals, and ensuring their successful reentry into the community.”

State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin DeLeon is anticipated to announce today a proposal which may alter the way MHSA funding is directed to local government.
Since the enactment of Proposition 63 (the Mental Health Services Act), which provides additional money to support mental health services, Los Angeles County has maximized available funds to expand critical mental health services.

“Local governments across the state have the hands-on knowledge and experience about how to address the homeless problems in their counties and cities,” he added. “Any directives by the state could undermine this expansion effort and delay progress being made in their own unique communities. Local governments must carefully review any proposals put forth by the Senate’s President Pro Tem — particularly those that may impact the use of local funding.”

MHSA funds currently support the county’s top priorities which include homelessness programs, jail diversion, child welfare, psychiatric urgent care centers, outreach, engagement, treatment, housing and ongoing mental health services through Laura’s Law. In February, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health will present an $84 million proposal to the Board for further expansion of these critical services.

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