Can New Mental Health Courts Reduce Homelessness? : Up First California's governor has made the rounds on local and national news pitching a new court as a solution to homelessness. But there's a gap between how these courts are being sold and the reality. Today on The Sunday Story, Ayesha Rascoe and Anna Scott explore what this policy experiment in California can help us understand about the causes of and solutions to homelessness.

The Sunday Story: Mental Health Care Goes to Court

The Sunday Story: Mental Health Care Goes to Court

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A homeless encampment stands in front of a city water and power building in the Skid Row community in Los Angeles on Sept. 28, 2023. Mario Tama/Getty Images hide caption

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Mario Tama/Getty Images

A homeless encampment stands in front of a city water and power building in the Skid Row community in Los Angeles on Sept. 28, 2023.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Last year, the homelessness rate in the U.S. was the highest ever recorded. The crisis is at its worst in California; more people live outside in California than anywhere else in the nation. California's Governor Gavin Newsom has pushed forward a package of reforms aimed to reduce homelessness, including CARE Court: a new type of court that's supposed to support people with serious mental health issues. The governor has made the rounds on local and national news pitching CARE Court as a solution to homelessness. But Anna Scott, a southern California reporter who's covered issues related to homelessness for KCRW, finds that there's a gap between how these courts are being sold and the reality. Today on The Sunday Story, Ayesha Rascoe and Anna Scott explore what this policy experiment in California can help us understand about the causes of and solutions to homelessness.

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This episode was produced by Rhaina Cohen and edited by Jenny Schmidt.

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