Letters to the Editor: Robbing homeless people of their autonomy won’t make them ‘better’

Gov. Gavin Newsom, speaking at a mental health treatment center in San Jose, announces his "CARE Court" proposal on March 3.
(Karl Mondon / Associated Press)

To the editor: As a worker in the mental health field and incoming therapist, I am beyond horrified at the “CARE Court” proposal. (“Newsom’s ‘CARE Court’ homelessness plan faces new questions from lawmakers,” April 26)

It blatantly ignores scientific evidence on the causes of homelessness as well as best practices in therapy. Not only that, but it amplifies the potential effects of medication, something that is not always effective nor a universal panacea. It also assumes that somehow people can be forced to get “better.”

It would be far better and more effective to combat the causes of homelessness rather than the symptoms. The root cause is nearly always trauma related. For suggestions on how to handle this, I recommend Dr. Gabor Maté’s work, particularly “In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts.”


The CARE Court proposal will not help anything. It will create more work for the courts, create trauma for many, and make those who actually could benefit from the supports offered far less likely to seek them.

I urge state leaders not to take people’s autonomy from them in the name of helping them.

Taryn Cantor, Sherman Oaks


To the editor: As it has grown over decades, homelessness has proven to be an intractable societal problem that has eluded solutions. With the proposed CARE Court, Gov. Gavin Newsom and others appear to have developed a plan that is certainly worthy of our support.

As long as the plan does no harm, it should be given the opportunity to succeed.

To the American Civil Liberties Union and others who are opposed, please stop sniping and come up with something better.

Joel Miller, Torrance