Is Laura’s Law with its assisted outpatient treatment program the complete answer to our problem with the homeless mentally ill? A deep dive into its stringent requirements for the homeless mentally ill to be subject to its provisions reveals that it is not set up for dealing fully with the homelessness problem. It is meant to address those who are psychotic, dangerous to self or others, or gravely mentally ill, have had two significant contacts with law enforcement for danger to self or others or grave disability, not counting the sentinel event, psychiatrically deteriorating, and other requirements too numerous to list in the space of this letter.
Stacy Kuwahara did a yeoman’s job laying out the many successes of Kern County’s AOT program and she is to be commended on how well she has done with the heavy lift she has been handed with her department’s responsibility to do something about our problem with the homeless mentally ill. Well done, Ms. Kuwahara.
Simply stated, Laura’s Law is not the all-inclusive answer to our homelessness problem. Our county supervisors are exploring ordinances and additional resources for the homeless mentally ill and they should be wished godspeed in their endeavors. There is no question that the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, however well-intentioned it was, created a booger of a homelessness problem throughout the state. Laws supplementary to Laura’s need to be carefully crafted, and we all need to fully support our supervisors, City Council members, state assemblymen, and state senators along those lines.
— Brik McDill, Bakersfield