Re: “Pierce County Council stumbles in dark on mental health” (TNT, 12/17)
“Tax first and plan later” is not a good strategy to help the homeless and mentally ill. The County Council needs to address the following questions: Do state and county laws prohibit vagrancy? Do state and county laws allow for involuntary commitment and treatment? Does the county have enough mental health courts to handle homeless cases and deal with legal challenges?
Can the county establish better communication among patients, families, law enforcement officials, and medical personnel? Can county workers bypass the privacy laws that may prevent effective communication?
Are there existing programs and resources that aren’t being acknowledged? Can these resources be used more effectively?
Before you can resolve the homeless problem, you have to establish and/or maintain the legal structure to keep vagrants off the streets. Then you need to organize specific procedures for rehabilitating or caring for the people in need. Otherwise, that ten million a year will vanish into the bottomless pit of government bureaucracy.
You can’t eat the elephant in one bite.