LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has decided on Tuesday, June 23 to expand Homeless Outreach and Mobile Engagement (HOME) teams. The HOME teams, which aim to provide proper treatments and resources to those who suffer from mental illness and homelessness, are currently going to reach out to more people.

“This is another important tool in our ongoing effort to serve those suffering from mental health issues who fall into chronic homelessness,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “We remain dedicated to address the needs of these vulnerable individuals and must work together to find new solutions that improve and enhance the treatment options we provide for people experiencing homelessness.”

There are many HOME teams among Los Angeles County with mental health professionals and social workers reaching out to those in need. All staff are field-based and are trained to identify individuals’ different situations in order to break the cycle of chronic homelessness. For those who have been determined to be in imminent danger or are gravely disabled, the staff will conduct an involuntary evaluation for them and provide treatments to ensure they are safe.

“Even before the pandemic, three of our homeless neighbors were dying on the streets every day. It is all the more urgent that we intervene humanely to prevent people from passively decaying on the streets as a result of severe and untreated mental illness,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “Today’s motion will allow the County’s Department of Mental Health to immediately deploy their Homeless Outreach Mobile Engagement teams to pilot street-based treatment and clinical oversight to help our most vulnerable residents get on the path to recovery.”

“Our department’s countywide, multidisciplinary HOME teams interact on a daily basis with individuals whose lives have been shattered by serious mental illness,” said Dr. Jonathan Sherin, Director of the Department of Mental Health. “These clients are unable to make good decisions about their care. It is unjust and inhumane to allow our clients to be exposed to the streets or jails when help is available. This pilot program would provide our HOME teams additional engagement tools, including ‘outpatient conservatorship’ to ensure a client receives treatment, without having to rely on hospitalization.”

The preliminary report that determines the pilot program’s progress will be sent by October 9, 2020, and the final report will be sent by July 1, 2021.