Proposition 2 decides where funds from mental health services go

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(William Robbins / Daily Titan)

Proposition 2 will decide if the current funding for the Mental Health Services Act will go to the No Place Like Home Program, according to the California Voter’s Guide.

The Mental Health Services Act or Proposition 63, was an initiative passed in 2004 that allocated revenue from a 1 percent income tax increase on millionaires to mental health services, according to the State of California website.

The No Place Like Home Program houses individuals with mental illnesses. The funding would go toward creating permanent-support housing for the homeless or at-risk homeless with mental illnesses.

A yes vote on Proposition 2 will agree to allocate the funds toward the homeless program.

A no vote will keep the funding as is and will continue to reserve that revenue for mental health services.

The proposition will not raise taxes on residents of California, but aims to create 20,000 permanent-supportive housing units with staff and services across the counties, according to the California Voter’s Guide.

Joe Albert Garcia, clinical psychologist and associate professor in the human services department at Cal State Fullerton, said that no matter what happens, homeless facilities are going to be needed in some neighborhoods that have a concentration of homeless individuals.

“So the question is: Do you want (homeless individuals) who are already in your neighborhood where all the things you’re afraid of are more likely to happen? Or do you want them housed where it will be less likely to happen?” he said.

An opposition to the proposal is that it can take up to 5.6 billion dollars away from direct mental health treatment and services for the targeted population, according to the California Voter’s Guide.

In the official opposing argument, leaders of the National Alliance on Mental Illness stated that voters already decided money should be spent on treatment for preventive homelessness, not toward housing, according to the California Voter’s Guide.

Garcia said there are misconceptions about economic impacts when it comes to homeless individuals and treatment.

“Whenever you’re thinking about the economic impacts of these things, these are all hypothesized. It turns out that any city, any county spends a lot of money indirectly on dealing with homelessness,” Garcia said.

A study conducted by Orange County United Way and University of California, Irvine found that permanent-supportive housing methods have less of an economic impact on the communities. It estimated costs for housing-first services as 50 percent lower individually than the cost of street services for the homeless.

From 2014 to 2015, it was estimated that Orange County spent approximately $299 million to address homelessness issues such as health care, criminal justice and housing, according to the same study.

“The difficulty for community members is that you don’t see that cost. So you feel like you’re losing something. You could think of it as an investment,” Garcia said.

The foundation for this proposal stems from the permanent-supportive housing model, which states that in order for people to begin progressive recovery they must first have a stable home, according to Opening Doors, a housing publication for the disability community.

The programs are designed for long-term supportive services in an affordable community-based setting directly aimed at the homeless, and was first recognized as a viable solution to ending homelessness in the 1980s, according to Opening Doors.

Proposition 2 will be one of 11 propositions in the California midterm election ballot on Nov. 6.  

Proposition 2 determines where mental health funding goes.
(Anita Huor/ Daily Titan)

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