“There’s no compassion with people with their clothes off defecating and urinating in the middle of the streets, screaming and talking to themselves,” Newsom told the San Francisco Chronicle
on Wednesday. “There’s nothing appropriate about a kid and a mom going down the street trying to get to the park being accosted by people who clearly need help.”
“I’m increasingly outraged by what’s going on in the streets,” he said. “I’m disgusted with it.”
According to the Chronicle, this could happen in one of three scenarios: they are suspected of a crime, an involuntary hold in a psychiatric emergency room is about to end, or a family member or outreach worker believes they cannot take care of themselves. They would be represented by a public defender; a lawyer in the US legal system employed by the court to represent clients unable to afford a lawyer. A clinical team would create a care plan in conjunction with the person and a county case manager, who would help them navigate the process.
The plan could include clinical visits, prescriptions for medication, or housing at a board-and-care facility or “halfway house.”
If the person refuses this process, then a normal criminal case would begin.
According to the San Francisco paper, the rule would not apply exclusively to homeless people, either.
The Golden State has an estimated 161,548 homeless, as of January 2020, according to the US Interagency
Council on Homelessness - roughly 40% of the entire homeless population the United States.
The San Francisco - Bay Area, in particular, is one of the nation’s most unaffordable places to live. A September 2021 report
by the Bay Area Equity Atlas found that nearly half of Bay Area residents are either low income or very-low income, according to California Department of Housing and Urban Development data.
United Ways of California also noted in July
that one-quarter of Bay Area residents aren’t making enough money to cover the cost of housing, food, medical care, childcare, and other essentials.
Newsom, a former mayor of San Francisco, has long postured as “tough on crime,” pledging in November of 2021
a police crackdown on “smash and grab” theft from boutique shops and pharmacies.