Monday, October 29, 2007

Housing the homeless...who aren't psychotic

In an op-ed in the LA Times, two experts on homelessness and skid row wrote:

The central antidote to homelessness is not a police sweep or a shelter bed. It's housing.

Once housed and given appropriate support and services, formerly homeless people with mental and addiction disabilities -- those for whom we used to think a bowl of soup and a blanket was the best we could do -- have a good chance of staying off the streets.
Certainly, they are right. For many of the people on skid row housing and services are enough. But what about people with mental illnesses so severe they have anosognosia, or a lack of insight into their illness? What about those who are so sick they will never chose mental health treatment? (Remember Nathanial?)

Without assisted outpatient treatment to accompany housing and services, the sickest of the sick are still being ignored.

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