Opinion

Letters: Sacramento must house homeless mentally ill people

Re “Sacramento County just found millions of extra dollars to spend on homelessness. Time to cash in” (Editorials, Oct. 17): Funds earmarked for severely mentally ill people in Proposition 63 cannot legally be used to house homeless addicts and other people who are not mentally ill. That’s a misappropriation of funds, like using money earmarked for veterans to pay for services for people who aren’t veterans. And even it if were legal, it would be shortsighted. Proposition 63 funds are desperately needed to treat severely mentally ill Californians. Housing problems tend to solve themselves if the severely ill stay in treatment, and get worse if they don’t. Equally inexcusable, however, is Sacramento County’s failure to fund housing and treatment for people who are homeless and severely mentally ill with accumulated Mental Health Services Act funds, particularly prevention funds which have historically been wasted on nonsense. “Housing first” is quintessential prevention and a far better use of those funds.

Mary Ann Bernard, SACRAMENTO

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