Legislation by Senator Brian W. Jones to assist law enforcement agencies with addressing the homeless problem was approved today on a bipartisan vote by the Senate Public Safety Committee.
“This measure is a good first step in helping solve homelessness in California,” said Jones. “We need to clear homeless encampments off our streets, out of our parks and off other public property in a humane and compassionate way. This is a comprehensive team approach to provide on-the-spot assessments of the needs of homeless individuals along with immediate placements in necessary health programs and appropriate housing facilities.”
Jones’s Senate Bill 1006 will provide local law enforcement agencies with grants to send homeless assessment teams, also known as “wrap-around” teams, into the field. Specifically, it:
- Establishes a competitive grant program in the California Department of Justice in which local law enforcement agencies could apply for funding for local homeless assessment (wrap-around) team efforts;
- Authorizes these local teams to be composed of a law enforcement officer, a mental health professional, a medical services professional, and a representative of the county welfare department; and
- Allows the mental health and medical services team members to be volunteers associated with a nonprofit or be graduate students in the appropriate field of study.
This “wrap-around” idea is based on discussions with law enforcement officers, mental health professionals, local government officials, representatives of nonprofits and medical personnel. This unique approach has the potential to help law enforcement compassionately clear the homeless encampments out of our communities, assess the particular medical needs of those living on the street, and link them with appropriate health and housing agencies so they don’t wind up right back where they were.
SB 1006 passed on a 3-0 vote, with Senators Steven Bradford, Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh and Scott Wiener voting yes, while Senators Sydney Kamlager and Nancy Skinner abstained.