In California as in the US as a whole, a large proportion of chronically homeless individuals suffer from a serious mental health condition, drug addiction, or both. For example, in 2020, “about 25 percent of all homeless adults in LA County had a severe mental illness …and 27 percent had a long-term substance use disorder.” Much has been written about the revolving door between the corrections system and the streets, but there is another revolving door: the one connecting the streets to the health care system, especially hospital emergency departments. Unhoused people come to the emergency room with unstable medical or mental health conditions. They are often released back to the streets either not fully stabilized or without a comprehensive follow-up plan. It is no wonder that many return for emergency care within days, weeks, or months.
In this third session of the UCCS Special Winter Symposium on Chronic Homelessness, an academic expert and a policymaker – both with years of experience working on the problem of chronic mental illness and substance abuse – will discuss the nature, origins, and possible solutions to this “other revolving door.” First, Dr. Aimee Moulin will share her experience and research as an emergency physician at UC Davis Health. Then, Mayor Darrell Steinberg will provide his impressions of how the system has failed in the past, how we might move forward more effectively, and how new arrangements between the State, the counties, and municipalities such as Sacramento offer a glimmer of hope.
Dr. Aimee Moulin is Professor of Emergency Medicine at UC Davis Health. Dr. Moulin is boarded in both Emergency Medicine and Addiction Medicine and is Chief of the Division of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Moulin completed a fellowship in Quality Safety and Comparative Effectiveness Research with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality with a focus on the intersection of mental illness, substance use and acute care. Dr. Moulin is Co-Founder of the California Bridge Project an effort to rapidly expand access to evidence-based treatment for substance use disorder.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg is the 56th Mayor of Sacramento. Mayor Steinberg was elected in 2016 and won reelection in March 2020. Amongst other accomplishments, Mayor Steinberg’s administration secured new resources to tackle homelessness and economic inequity. As 2019 leader of California’s Big City Mayors, he successfully negotiated with both Governor Jerry Brown and Governor Gavin Newsom to win millions of dollars to address homelessness in Sacramento. As Co-Chair of Governor Newsom’s Regional Council of Homeless Advisors, Mayor Steinberg led efforts to change how California provides housing and homelessness services and constructs affordable housing. Mayor Steinberg previously served in the State Assembly and then the State Senate, eventually becoming President of the Senate. Mayor Steinberg has served the Sacramento community for more than 20 years.
*This talk will be given as a webinar as well as a limited in-person option. The link will be provided on Tuesday, January 31st to those that have registered by 5:00pm on Monday, January 30th.*