Y’all. Today on “How our tax dollars are going to criminalize mental illness and homelessness” we present to you PBIDS.
Fun to say, dangerous for our community members experiencing homelessness....we’ll explain...but buckle up, because this a long convoluted ride.
So first stop - PBIDS, according to the County are
From what we can tell PBIDS get their funding from small businesses and other city grants. Like a homeowners association, but for businesses. ...and we’ve all heard how much fun homeowners associations are. So here’s the deal: Item 57 was basically a check-in with all the county's PBIDS, and all was going as expected until Supervisor Frost’s bestie Chris Evans came up to speak.
All of the PBIDS all seem to work together. They also partner with police to move unhoused community members around. Chris Evans is on the board for the Antelope PBID in Supervisor Frosts District. He also is connected to “Watchman Security,” a private law-enforcement company. Smell any potential problems yet? Watchman Security has 3.6/5 Stars on their google reviews (Solid C), with one community member accusing their guards of being “overly aggressive.” Did I mention Evans also is a Tucker Carlson quoting Trump supporter, who spreads the message that majority of the women in color in the Senate “hate America”?
The presentation by the Antelope PBID CEO is pretty wild. While Evans doesn’t readily claim to have any experience or education in the mental health field, he has a lot of opinions of community members struggling with substance use disorders.
Evans has managed to eliminate homelessness in 3 or 4 four main areas in his PBID, without moving anybody (or providing services). His secret? Compassionate Compliance, he claims all you have to do is "change the environment."
What do you think compassionate compliance means to a Trump supporting, private security officer, who doesn't see addiction as a mental illness, that wants to end the "No Bail Policy" and bring back a hands on policy?
Evans goes on to boast about spending 25% of his $180,000 budget, or $45,000 on “chasing” around the same 4-6 individuals. And claims he will continue to do so, unless the Chronic Nuisance Offender Program is brought back.
Some people might call that a waste of money.
It’s me, I’m some people.
That’s an INSANE waste of money.
We could’ve paid for voluntary rehab before arrest, and housing instead of “chasing” those people around.
Some people are not Supervisor Frost.
She applauds Evans work, and acknowledges his “leadership and raw intelligence” and “genius” for working with the Sheriff and for his “landscaping solutions.”
Supervisor Serna also agrees and supports the work Evans is doing. Supervisor Desmond suggests that PBIDS be consulted as part of the treatment team when dealing with “treatment resistant” people on the street. WILL SOMEONE PLEASE JUST GET A MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL AND SURVIVAL SERVICES?!
Evans does claim they try to get people the help they need. The only resource he mentions is The Ripple Effect, a faith based organization that offers various community services. Evans describes them as a bunch of old folks, trying to do a lot of good, that “sometimes show up at 12p and sometimes show up at 2p”. It doesn’t seem like Evans would be willing to share any of his budget with them so they can afford the more staff.
But wait...there’s more…. Right now at least six Sacramento area PBIDS are campaigning to get the “Chronic Nuisance Offender Program” back. They even sent a letter to a Sacramento Superior Court Judge. Evans, and others, claim that this is their ONLY option for getting folx the help they need. He even went as far as to say the success of PBIDS is dependent on the reinstatement of the Chronic Nuisance Offender Program. At first glance the chronic nuisance offender program sounds like a good idea. It claims to give the option of rehab instead of jail. But something doesn’t quite add up. Evans and Supervisor Desmond claim it was discontinued due to COVID. The Sacramento Superior court says that it was discontinued for violating federal and state constitutions as part of a recent California Supreme Court decision.
When we read the letter to the Judge from the PBIDS there was zero talk of getting people help. Instead they claim the need for the hand-on policy to be reinstated to get dangerous criminals off the street.
Not only does the carceral system get the vast majority of our budget, but now small business owners are also required to pay private security companies, that work with the Sheriff, to continue the very expensive culture of harassment over help.
The motion to approve the annual report and levy of assessment passed unanimously.
I wonder how much support from mental health professionals and access to services could be invested in with $45,000 per year.
While we wait for that question to be answered, Chris Evans and the fine folx at Watchman security will keep taking city funds to chase around the same 4-6 people experiencing mental health crises.