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Bill calls for homeless shelter at state hospital

State hospital to house homeless

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed into law a bill that will bring homeless shelters to Patton State Hospital, starting next January.

AB 349, which Newsom signed on Oct. 8, makes it possible to build accommodations for homeless individuals starting on the grounds of the mental hospital near Highland.

The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman James C. Ramos, D-San Bernardino.

AB 349 authorizes the Department of General Services Director, with the cooperation of the Department of State Hospitals, to lease a building at the state hospital to a nonprofit corporation or local government entity.

The building will provide housing and mental health services to homeless people.

“I am gratified that the governor approved my bill, which provides an opportunity to create a vitally-needed new regional resource to address the needs of our homeless population,” Ramos said in the statement. [But] addressing this need demands collaboration. No one level of government or organization can solve the issue.”

The bill was passed unanimously by the state assembly and senate.


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  1. Are you freezing kidding me as my old ass recalls the idiots on California tried this in the 70’s. Can you really imagine. Criminalizing homelessness and people who are addressless is absolutely ridiculous California and the Gavinator should be taken out of office. I mean give me a break asshole.

    • Calm down, the shelters will not be part of the hospital. They are shelters on state land. They will be run independently from the hospital itself. The residents of the shelters will not be patients at the state hospital. They are separate entities that are sharing the same land that is owned by the state. Patients from the hospital are housed inside of a heavily secured gate. The shelters will be outside of the gate on land that is far away from the workings of the hospital itself. This was a poorly written piece that makes it easy to misunderstand. The patients at the state hospital are forensic patients which means the court has ordered them in to treatment based on legal findings that they broke a felony law. The residents at these shelters have not broken any laws and they won’t be legally required to stay there. This is about providing shelter and help to a vulnerable population. Almost 33% of America’s homeless population is found in our state and Newsom is trying to provide for their basis needs. Relax.

  2. And then if course in the land of the free your comment has to be moderated. your freedom of speech is squat.

  3. It’s about time they do something. Lots of the people have mental issues and need to be in a hospital where they are given medication and supervision and that will prevent those mentally retarded people from committing crimes.

    • The residents of the shelters will not be patients at the hospital. The shelters will provide other resources to respond to their basic needs, but the resources won’t come from the hospital. The hospital and this housing project are two different entities sharing state land. The land itself is huge and there will be lots of physical space to separate the hospital itself from the shelters. There won’t be any overlap. The shelters will provide other resources like meetings with social workers but the social workers will not be the employees at the hospital. I agree that this is a good step. Unfortunately, the unclear writing from this article makes it easy to misunderstand the relationship between the hospital, the shelters, and the state land they both will share.

  4. Great news my question is why is process so slow?

    • Almost 33% of the nations homeless population lives and breathes in California. California has 58 counties and each one of them are under their own jurisdiction. This problem has taken decades to form and the solutions cannot come quick enough. The fact that this bill passed both the state senate and the state assembly both unanimously shows our lawmakers are taking the subject for the serious issue that it is. Government churns slowly and projects can take many years to complete. The fact that ground will break in January 2024 seems very ambitious but you’re right to imply that every night until these shelters are erected will be a cold, hard, and unsafe one for our homeless brothers and sisters. We need to keep the pressure up on our lawmakers to ensure there are no unneeded delays.

  5. This is a step in the right direction. Much needed to get at this homeless crisis in California.

  6. They are forcing mental illness of people that don’t even have mental illness just to test drugs on them and take away their rights as citizens. While giving immigrants money, homes, and assistance but not its citizens. Citizens who are homeless will only have the option to admit to a psych ward now. This will make people who aren’t mentally ill; just those on hard times, dependents of the state with the goal of more funding. The economy is and inflation is putting people on the streets not necessarily mental illness. These people are going to be vulnerable towards being diagnosed with illegitimate mental illnesses just to fill their beds and recieve services. They will be given drugs against their will and be made mentally ill as a result of the prescribed drugs. Further resulting in an addiction to prescribed medications. Which if you refuse to take, the staff will pin you to a bed and drug you anyways. Physical abuse and harm isnt considered to them when forcing drugs onto someone. They will.use injection method, if it is not.voluntarily swallowed. Most the nurses in these wards are from other countries employed under work visas…We need housing assistance not drug assistance leading to the removal of rights because you are homeless. If you die or are killed by the drugs they diagnose with little oversight it’s not their problem. Patients rights don’t exist in these places. You are no longer considered a human.

    • You are right to be concerned with how patients with how the patients within the hospital are treated. We should all be concerned with how the most vulnerable among us are treated. Patients at the hospital do have their rights as citizens limited, but the hospital itself does not do the restricting, it follows the legal orders of the judge that commits them to the hospital. Patton is a forensic hospital and those who are patients were ordered into treatment due to their diagnosis of a severe and pervasive mental illness which contributed to the commission of a felony offense. Medication is one form of treatment that they make receive, but not the only one. Medication is voluntary unless ordered by a judge due to safety concerns. They have the right to appeal the judge’s decision and sometimes the involuntary med order is overturned. There are third-party patient rights advocates from Disability Rights California who work on hospital grounds full-time and spend their days aggressively fighting for the full expression of a patient’s right to exercise their humanity. This includes voting, refusing treatment, practicing their religion, ensuring privacy/dignity/respect, confidential discussions with their attorney, and many more. There are problems with the system, but Patton itself is always making improvements and rigorously tackling its flaws.

      That said, the residents of these homeless shelters will have absolutely nothing to do with Patton, aside from the fact that the structures themselves will share the same state land as the hospital. But they will be separate. Understand that the land that the state owns is vast and the grounds of the hospital – the parts occupied by the patients will not be a meaningful distance near the homeless shelters. The two entities will not share the same administrative structure, employees, or have any overlap of clientele. The shelters will provide other services besides just four walls and a roof. There will be social workers, mental health professionals, and drug rehab counselors. The idea is by no means to criminalize the homeless population. Just as it is not the idea at Patton to criminalize its patients. Patton exists as an alternative to keeping felons with mental illnesses in prison or jail. Patton is staffed by mental health professionals from all around the world and serves California’s forensic population to the best of its ability. Patton is a state hospital and if it is to improve its facility and quality of patient care, we need to keep our lawmaker’s feet to the fire to increase allocation of tax revenue to the hospital’s annual budget. And then keep the Director of Stare Hospital’s feet to the fire to use that increased budget for improving patient care.

      These are big issues and big challenges. We don’t have the luxury of throwing stones. If you want to help the situation, apply to work at a state hospital and change it from the inside.

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