Odds and Ends

Odds and Ends – August 2022

What Happened to Norman Needn’t Be Normal, the article I wrote for the October 2021 Splash Pad News, discussed the current state of affairs in which it’s nearly impossible to get medical assistance for people who are severely mentally ill, and clearly unable to care themselves. Governor Newsom’s proposal designed “to prod mentally ill homeless people into treatment” was designed to address this problem as outlined in this June 22 article published by Politico. A July 31 SF Chronicle opinion piece argues that, while Newsom’s intentions are admirable, adequate funding isn’t provided for critical infrastructure including a major court expansion and provisions for supportive housing.

“Howard”, a homeless individual who has been extremely disruptive and destructive here in the Grand Lake District, is a perfect example as to why supportive housing is essential. He was apparently hospitalized for two or three months but is now back on the streets and the expectation is that his behavior will deteriorate. If so, he’ll be just as problematic as previously. Long term in California,  billions are going to be needed to address homelessness statewide and particularly so, for the mentally ill. It’s still a bargain compared to the overall costs. As the author of the Chronicle editorial notes, over a five year period, five individuals in San Francisco ran up a $5 million bill for ambulance rides.

A July 21 obituary in The Oaklandside by Anna Gunn memorialized Willie Ellis, the homeless individual whom many described as the mayor or official greeter for Lake Merritt.

On Saturday July 16, AIMS College Prep High School’s playground was the site of a Car Seat Check-up program that was organized by the CHP’s Oakland office in cooperation with the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. In addition to ensuring that car seats were properly installed, free car seats were donated to low-income families. By the way, if you’re not already aware of this, two of the portables in what used to be Lakeview School house now house a distribution center for the Alameda County Food Bank program. If you know of anyone in need of supplemental food, they should phone 510-635-FOOD (3663).