Council Engages with Gov. Newsom on Proposed Mental Health Reforms

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This week the Bay Area Council joined Governor Gavin Newsom, Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), and select group of leaders from the public and private sectors to discuss a proposal to reform how California treats mental illness, substance abuse disorders, and homelessness. The two-bill legislative package would reform and modernize the Mental health Services Act of 2004, allowing funds to be used on individuals with substance abuse disorders and allowing at least $1 billion to flow to housing and residential services, and, authorize a general obligation bond to build 10,000 modern behavioral health beds in residential settings across the state. The package also includes a new set of accountability metrics for counties in order to improve performance and inform future innovation.

The Council applauds the Governor’s plan, and is working with the Governor, Senator, and Assemblywoman to ensure these reforms have the intended effect and are informed by the best practices and expertise of our Healthcare and Homelessness Committees. If passed, the legislative package will make its way to the voters as a $4.68 billion general obligation bond on the March ballot.

“For too long California has failed to adequately address the dire mental health and substance abuse crisis playing out on our streets, in our parks and other public spaces,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “We applaud Gov. Newsom’s bold plan to get people the help, shelter and housing they desperately need, and provide the accountability to ensure we do it right.”

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