In Quest to Treat Homeless, L.A. Supes Seek Expanded Definition of ‘Grave Disability’

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is trying to make it easier to involuntarily detain some homeless individuals for psychiatric treatment -- part of a comprehensive, all hands on deck approach to stamping out the crisis of homelessness in L.A. County.

This latest proposal was put forth by Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Hilda Solis. Following a 4-1 vote by the board (Sheila Kuehl was the lone dissenter), they’re asking county staff to develop new criteria for what would constitute a “grave disability.” They’ll then ask the state legislature to expand the definition to give local authorities more power to take people in on psychiatric holds.

Local governments across the state have been battling the epidemic of homelessness in various ways. But new shelters, public toilets and affordable housing proposals seem to overlook one important fact: an estimated 20-25% of the men and women living on our streets are believed to be suffering from mental illness.

While this latest proposal could result in more people being involuntarily detained, Brittney Weissman of the National Alliance on Mental Illness' Los Angeles County Council said it could also mean more people getting the treatment they need.

Read more about the latest move by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors here


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