Disability Rights California Urges California Senators to Vote NO on SB 1338 (Umberg)

The bill will directly impact unhoused individuals with mental health disabilities and disproportionately harm Black Californians.
Press Release

Disability Rights California Urges California Senators to Vote NO on SB 1338 (Umberg)

Front of low income housing apartments.
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(Sacramento, CA) – Tomorrow, May 24, 2022, Disability Rights California will head to the Capitol to speak with Legislators to Vote No on SB 1338 (Umberg), the new Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Court proposal.  Please join us at 10am at the West Capitol steps.

DRC strongly opposes CARE Court because it is based on stigma and stereotypes of people living with mental health disabilities and experiencing homelessness and will disproportionately impact Black Californians, who make up 40% of the unhoused population, only furthering institutional racism.   

While we agree that state resources must urgently be allocated towards addressing homelessness, hospitalization, conservatorship, and premature death of Californians living with severe mental illness, CARE Court is the wrong framework.

Because of a long history of discrimination in housing, employment, healthcare, policing, and other areas, Black and Brown Californians represent most of the unhoused population. They will be more likely to be subject to a CARE Court petition and the court system does not have the appropriate care for people with mental health disabilities, especially Black and Brown people. According to Mental Health America, clinicians overemphasize psychotic symptoms and overlook non-psychotic symptoms, such as major depression, when treating clients of other racial or ethnic backgrounds. This has led to Black men being over-diagnosed with schizophrenia compared to white counterparts.

In addition, domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness in the United States, and research shows that housing is one of the main needs identified by survivors.  Under CARE Court, a broad scope of people, including family members who may be the perpetrator of domestic violence, can file a petition creating a system for abuse.

CARE Court is a coerced, court-ordered treatment system that strips people with mental health disabilities of their right to make their own decisions about their lives. It will do more harm because studies show forced treatment lessens the likelihood of people seeking voluntary treatment in the future.

We urge Senators to vote No on SB 1338 (Umberg). “The state should not accept an unproven system of court-ordered treatment that does not guarantee housing and will disproportionately negatively impact Black, Latinx, Indigenous and other people of color. Instead, the state should expand its resources on proven solutions to homelessness by providing reliable access to affordable, accessible, integrated housing combined with voluntary services that allow people with mental health disabilities autonomy over their own lives,” says Eric Harris, Director of Public Policy for Disability Rights California.


Media Contacts

Melody Pomraning
Communications Director
Disability Rights California
(916) 504-5938


Disability Rights California (DRC) – Is the agency designated under federal law to protect and advocate for the rights of Californians with disabilities. The mission of DRC is to defend, advance, and strengthen the rights and opportunities of people with disabilities. For more information visit: https://www.disabilityrightsca.org.