50 years ago, when the homeless were judged to be severally mentally ill and unable to care for their own welfare we sent them to mental institutions. Let me point a finer point on this… we locked them away in asylums with substandard treatment. Of course, it was our intention to do this ONLY when they were so out of touch with reality they would never be able to hold a job, much less stay out of the cold to avoid freezing to death.
They did not have a good life in these institutions, but it was far better than sleeping on the street, sometimes starving and sometimes being victimized. Somehow we rationalized it was better for them to be free… free to live in their own filth until they were taken by death.
Inside the institutions there were abuses and care varied by wide margins. We had locked them up to keep them out of sight and rarely did their situation improve enough to return them back to society. So most of the patients died there, heavily medicated and passive. But they slept in a clean bed, had basic healthcare, balanced diets and they wore clean clothes.
By the 1960’s there was a growing bi-partisan movement to improve the lives of patients in these asylums. The ACLU sued to have these people released from their prison-like hospitals, citing if they were not an immediate threat to themselves or others, society had no right to deprive them of their liberty. Ironically, many professional psychiatric associations agreed, adding that out-patient care would produce better results.
Most of the mental health hospitals were shutdown and replaced by new local clinics. But, the clinics were under utilized, because the mentally ill were not coming in for help. Mentally ill people were not good decision makers, they were not reliable to keep appointments or take medication and the clinics were closed for lack of use.
Eventually this wound up in a sudden increase of homeless and they crazy folks melded with the new homeless, the dropouts, the illegals, the petty criminals, etc., This became a national problem. But, even the homeless recognized that living on the streets of Los Angeles in December beat the heck outta the streets in New York.
Meet the tens of thousands of homeless migrating to the golden streets of CA.
Now what, what do we do with the homeless? They are migrating from all over the country to the West Coast where the living is better and benefits lavish compared to their former locations. But, Washington, Oregon and California combined don’t have the means to deal with what is clearly a nation-wide problem.
In truth, as a nation, we don’t have infinite funds to spend the 100K a year it would cost to treat and support just one mentally ill person in a manner that would meet with liberal approval. It seems there are no good choices. Tiny houses, drug rehab, clinics, asylums, none are a perfect answer.
Warehousing the mentally ill was found unacceptable. Releasing them to their own devices is not working, it’s made it worse and that’s unacceptable. As a state overrun by the nations homeless, we can’t afford to support them all and even if we could, the law says we can’t force them into treatment… this situation is unacceptable.
The feces and needles on the streets of San Francisco, Los Angeles, etc., the increased petty crimes and costly wildland fires wherever homeless gather….is unacceptable. The democrats own this state. They control Sacramento, they have a super majority in two houses and the governors chair, so what are they doing about it?