Stern Bill to Establish Right to Mental Health Care and Housing that Heals for Severely Mentally Ill Californians Passes Key Committee

April 29, 2022

Sacramento, CA - In a 7 to 1 vote, the Senate Health Committee approved Senator Stern s
landmark legislation, Senate Bill 1446, to establish a right to treatment for unhoused Californians
with severe mental illness.

Currently, California as whole faces a major shortage in street level mental health services and
housing options, and despite the City of Los Angeles recent housing settlement with L.A.
Alliance for Human Rights, LA County is still fighting the suit, maintaining that it is doing
everything in its power to he lp address the homelessness crisis. Meanwhile, Governor
Newsom s proposal to establish CARE Courts, which Stern is co authoring, faces opposition
from key civil liberties and homelessness advocacy groups concerned about compelling people
off the streets without sufficient treatment and housing to address their long term needs.

According to Stern, he hopes the legislation will provide a path to resolve these ongoing tensions
by guaranteeing abundant, relentless care and housing from multiple funding sou rces, across a
densely complex chain of responsibility in government: No one living or dying on the streets
cares about jurisdiction. If the city, the county, the state and federal government are unwilling to
come out of our silos, and help each other ou t, our response to this crisis will continue to stall

Dr. Susan Partovi, family physician and medical director of Homeless Health Care LA, testified
to the Committee on her experience triaging the most acute cases on Skid Row: It s my duty to
save liv es, and believe me when I tell you that, I know who is going to die within months and
there is very little I can do because there is nowhere for them to go.

Teresa Pasquini, whose son was just 16 when he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder,
also testified to the challenges find housing that could heal her son, navigating broken mental
health laws, a patchwork of healthcare services, and a lack of beds for people with severe mental
illness: No Mom should ever have to go what I ve gone through, but too many have.