Clergy, Families and Clients Call for County Funding for Treatment, Not Jails, Beds not Cells

Santa Barbara - As County Budget hearings for Health and Human Services and Public Safety begin today, Clergy and family members and mental health consumers led by Families ACT! and the Santa Barbara Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) are calling on the Santa Barbara County Supervisors to fund beds, not cells.

Putting mentally ill people in jail is counter productive and expensive, but it is what will continue to happen if the county adopts the 2015-16 Budget as proposed. Tax payers money will be wasted. More lives will be lost.

To break the revolving door of incarceration, hospitalization, and homelessness for people with mental illness, we need intensive licensed residential treatment coupled with supportive housing.

Stakeholders are urging the County to allocate $500K out of a nearly $100 million ADMHS budget towards the creation of two new residential treatment/supportive housing communities to serve County residents with mental health disorders and complex needs.

We want the Supervisors to honor the Systems Change Housing and Recovery Action Team’s recommendation of $25K for as Site Feasibility Study and $475K for Predevelopment Work to qualify the County for millions of dollars in development and operations funding for two facilities, one in North County and one in South County.

Counties and Sheriff’s departments all across America recognize the need to provide effective treatment and supportive housing instead of relying on jails. Incarceration on minor charges is often harmful to people with mental health disorders.

125 Santa Barbara County residents have signed a petition addressed to Santa Barbara County Supervisors. Text of petition is as follows:

CLUE SB and Families ACT! strongly urge the SB County Board of Supervisors to allocate the recommended $500K for a feasibility study and pre-development work for 2 sites, providing 132 new beds for people with mental health disorders. It is time to bring long-overdue economic justice to those with mental illness in our county.

Families ACT! is a local nonprofit organization founded by mothers of dually diagnosed young adults who died in Santa Barbara in 2005-6. See our Facebook page:

Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice - CLUE Santa Barbara is focused on faith-based organizing for social chane and economic justice in Santa Barbara County. http://www.cluesborg/mission.htm


Suzanne Riordan, Families ACT!

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