LOS ANGELES – Mayor Karen Bass today joined Governor Gavin Newsom and leaders from the Board of Supervisors to announce the acceleration of the implementation of CARE Court, the State’s new framework to deliver mental health and substance use disorder services to Californians suffering from severe mental health disorders. Los Angeles County and the City of L.A. have committed to implementing the CARE Act by December 1, 2023, one year ahead of schedule.
“I want to thank the Governor for his leadership. It is profoundly inhumane to allow people to suffer mental illness and die on our streets,” said Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass. “We will lock arms with Los Angeles County, building CARE Courts and expanding mental health and substance abuse programs to help Angelenos get well while respecting all civil liberties.”
“CARE Court brings real progress and accountability at all levels to fix the broken system that is failing too many Californians in crisis,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “I commend Los Angeles County leaders, the courts and all the local government partners and stakeholders across the state who are taking urgent action to make this lifesaving initiative a reality for thousands of struggling Californians.”
“We are in a homelessness emergency and we know that many who are living on our streets are struggling with severe mental illness. Governor Newsom’s Care Court model has been a missing piece in our effort to bring people inside,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
“Across Los Angeles County, we have seen the effects of our mental health crisis spilling out onto our streets. Too many residents with severe mental health issues lack adequate treatment and often find themselves in a devastating cycle between our emergency departments, our jails, and falling into homelessness,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, First District. “CARE Court will provide people with untreated mental health issues an opportunity to get stabilized in a compassionate manner. I want to thank Governor Newsom for including Los Angeles County as one of the first participants, and I look forward to working with him to ensure a swift and effective implementation.”
“I support bringing CARE Court to our county. It allows us to be on the ground floor of a new program where a lot of processes and implementation details still need to be worked out. Our county needs to have a seat at the table so we can effectively bring healing to individuals living with debilitating mental illness on our streets,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Fifth District. “We need a coordinated and consistent approach to help these individuals, and CARE Court is poised to help us meet that mission. Severe mental illness doesn’t resolve itself.”
As nearly fifty percent of unsheltered individuals are either suffering from severe mental illness or substance abuse, Mayor Bass has recognized that the fight against addiction and mental illness is deeply intertwined with the work to confront the homelessness crisis. Mayor Bass and the County of Los Angeles have vowed to lock arms and work more closely to tackle the issue of mental illness in neighborhoods across Los Angeles, and earlier this week, the County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an emergency declaration on homelessness to match the City’s order that was issued earlier this year. The emergency declarations will help the City and County lift rules and regulations that slow or prevent the building of permanent and temporary housing, and allow the City and County to acquire rooms, properties, and land that will help Angelenos experiencing severe mental illness or substance abuse receive the support and treatment they need.