Skip to main content

Enormous State Deficit Threatens Funding for Homeless Mental-Health Programs

Funds targeted for mental-health programs for homeless adults, because of passage of Proposition 63 in 2004, might be diverted due to the enormous state budget deficit, according to reporting in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The initiative Prop 63, known as the Mental Health Services Act, was passed narrowly by California voters in November, 2004.

With a beginning in January 2005, the proposition raises revenue by levying a 1% surtax on taxpayer income exceeding $1,000,000. Approximately $800 million was raised in budget year 2006-2007 by the initiative, according to the latest information available, at HealthVote.org.

The revenue is dedicated to develop mental health service programs including prevention, early intervention, education and training programs.

Republicans in the state assembly and senate are seeking to bridge an astounding $40 billion shortfall in the budget for the next 18 months without raising state taxes. To do this, they must seek expenditure cuts and inventive means to pump up general revenue.

But the Democrats and Governor Swartzenegger are very resistant to the minority party's stinting ideas.

According to the Chronicle article "Budget crisis may lead to $40 billion deficit":
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said Democrats won't support [diverting Prop 63 and Prop 10 (a tax on tobacco used to provide healthcare for children) revenue].

"It's ironic that ... the first money they go after is for the homeless, mentally ill and kids living with mental illness," said Steinberg, who carried the legislation that led to Prop. 63. "That money is being well spent. This money is saving the system and saving people, and it's not a substitute for commitment to new and ongoing revenue."

Steinberg said he hopes a budget compromise can be crafted but hinted that Democrats may have to figure out ways to close part of the deficit with measures that require a simple majority vote.

"We are going to solve the problem. Together or not, we are going to solve the problem," he said.
[See Dec 17 follow-up SacHo blogpost, "State Republicans Target Homeless Mental-Health Services."]

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The devastating effects of schizophrenia in one man's life

A powerful story of the deteriorating life and death of once-respectable Sacramento citizen, Mike Lehmkuhl,  is told by  reporter Cynthia Hubert in Sunday’s [7/31/16] Bee.
Lehmkuhl is described as a very likable guy with a sometimes-goofy personality that went along with a formidable intelligence. He was a “standout wrestler” in high school and an “accomplished gymnast at Sacramento State” where he graduated and then got into the building trade before going on to run a contracting business and have a home proximate to Country Club Plaza.
Friends describe him as being “happy” and “sanguine” at that time in his life, when he was about age 50.
But, by 2011, when Lehmkuhl was 53, he was hearing voices in his head and his life began to fall apart. He tumbled into a homeless life, combatting demons in his head that spoke to him. The Hubert piece provides a comprehensive picture of a good man beset by a devastating condition: schizophrenia. Lehmkuhl had good friends and loyal family members…

Homelessness and Remembrance

This is a follow-up on the matter of remembering homeless people who have died and the Wall that Libby Fernandez wants to build in remembrance of the deceased. [See earlier blogpost "Tell Libby NOT to build her wall."]

This blogpost is prompted by a Philosophy Bites podcast released in the last couple days -- titled "C├ęcile Fabre on Remembrance." Fabre's take on why we honor or grieve for certain individuals or certain collections of individuals is not greatly helpful -- since his focus is mainly one of fallen war heroes and war casualties -- but it does open up the issue of why should there be a remembrance effort for deceased homeless people at all. Who is served by it? And has the effort been perverted by the avarice of charities in their insatiable drive for donations.

It is, for starters, a curious thing for "homeless people" to be a collective that is honored. I write that NOT because I don't want the best for homeless people. But, homelessn…

The first-person dimension of homeless Sacramentans suffering from Schizophrenia

"Disabilities and dysfunction process from having been shunned and denied access to needed opportunitites and networks of support."
~ the brothers Lysaker in Schizophrenia and the Fate of the SelfWhat is schizophrenia? How many are homeless Sacramentans?

Perhaps 15% of the Sacramento homeless population suffers from schizophrenia. The percentage is difficult to determine for many reasons that branch from both the fuzzy definition of the malady and that many people within the homeless community who have the illness (1) are in denial and are undiagnosed and (2) have the illness as a diagnosis only – the disability can be faked by people who are successful claimants of social security and other benefits.

What is schizophrenia? One webspace gives us this definition: The most chronic and disabling of the severe mental disorders. Typically develops in the late teens or early twenties. The overt symptoms are hallucinations (hearing voices, seeing visions), delusions (false beliefs ab…