Saturday, July 14, 2007

Schwarzenegger seeks to cut mental health services for the homeless

A nationally lauded program that has helped thousands of mentally ill homeless men and women break the cycle of psychiatric hospitalization, jail time and street life is now on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's list of budget cuts.

The governor has proposed eliminating Integrated Services for Homeless Adults With Serious Mental Illness, which receives $55 million annually, as part of his attempt to close a budget gap estimated at more than $3 billion.

This makes no sense at all. Not one bit. First off, it's brutal and inhumane. This cut will put mentally ill people on the streets of California. There are nearly 5,000 people in this successful program. Secondly, if this program is eliminated costs will rise elsewhere. Period. No doubt about it. This is a program that successfully moves people from lives of illness, crime, drug abuse and desperation back into society. It helps them stay healthy so they can get jobs, and to keep a roof over their heads.

Budgets are a map of our priorities and our values, and year after year it becomes increasingly obvious that our priorities and out values are really messed up. I'm not sure what else to say at the moment...this makes me sick and sad.


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