San Jose Starts Massive Sweep of Homeless Encampment Near Airport

Robert Handa, NBC Bay Area

02 de septiembre de 2022

After months of delays and debates, San Jose launched a massive month-long sweep of a sprawling homeless encampment near the airport Thursday.

It was a jarring site for the 200 or so unhoused people in the encampment around Guadalupe Gardens, as crews plowed through the targeted first zone, near Hedding Street, of the 40-acre site.

The September sweep is necessary for the city to meet an FAA mandated deadline to move the encampment away from the airport, or risk losing federal funding.

“We have 40 RVs that we moved out to the baseball field across the street, that has relieved some of the stress, but there are still people here,” said unhoused advocate Gail Osmer.

One is Carlos Rampolla, who has an old yellow school bus with seven dogs which hauls a mobile home.

He said it hasn’t been paradise, but he’s grateful.

“There’s a lot of noise because of the airplanes, so it’s kind of stressful,” said Rampolla. “But, well, at least I got to stay here.”

Advocates had hoped to delay the sweep because of the heat wave but city officials said they will pause abatement during peak heat days topping 88 degrees starting Saturday but will resume Wednesday.

By late afternoon, Rampolla was able to move to the far field away from the sweep.

The postal worker said the time at the encampment gave him a chance to save money.

“I was able to buy a lot here in California,” he said. “So I’m planning to build a house there.”

But advocates say Rampolla is the exception.

“Where are these 60 to 70 people living in an RV to go? There’s no plan,” said Osmer.

The city of San Jose, and Santa Clara County, as well as non profits were out there Thursday, trying to help people with their plans as they get pushed more and more into a corner.

“El presente artículo es propiedad de NBC Bay Area

Handa, R. (2022). San Jose Starts Massive Sweep of Homeless Encampment Near Airport. NBC Bay Area. Recuperado el 02 de septiembre de 2022, de https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/south-bay/san-jose-homeless-encampment-sweep/2992800/

The Debt Crisis That Sick Americans Can’t Avoid

Elisabeth Rosenthal

02 de agosto de 2022

President Joe Biden’s campaign promise to cancel student debt for the first $10,000 owed on federal college loans has raised debate about the fairness of such lending programs. While just over half of Americans surveyed in a June poll supported forgiving that much debt incurred for higher education, 82% said that making college more affordable was their preferred approach.

But little public attention has been focused on what is — statistically, at least — a bigger, broader debt crisis in our country: An estimated 100 million people in the U.S., or 41% of all adults, have health care debt, compared with 42 million who have student debt.

The millions under the weight of medical debt deserve help, both because medical debt is a uniquely unfair form of predatory lending and because of its devastating ripple effects on American families.

Unlike college tuition or other kinds of debt, outlays for medical treatments are generally not something we can consider in advance and decide — yes or no — to take on. They are thrust upon us by illness, accident, and bad luck. Medical treatment generally has no predictable upfront price and there is no cap on what we might owe. And, given our health system’s prices, the amount can be more than the value of the family home if incurred for a hospital stay.

When it was time for my kids to choose a college, I knew in advance almost exactly what it would cost. We could decide which of the different tuitions was “worth it.” We made a plan to pay the amount using bank accounts, money saved in college savings plans, some financial aid, a student job, and some money loaned by a grandparent. (Yes, we had enough resources to make a financially considered choice.)

Think about how different educational debts are from those incurred in health care. In one case, profiled by KHN, the parents of twins, who were born at 30 weeks, faced out-of-pocket bills of about $80,000 stemming from charges in neonatal intensive care and other care that insurance didn’t cover. In another case, a couple ended up owing $250,000 when one spouse went to the emergency room with an intestinal obstruction that required multiple surgeries. They had to declare bankruptcy and lost their home. Even smaller bills lead to trashed credit ratings, cashing in retirement accounts, and taking on second jobs; in surveys, half of adults in the U.S. say they don’t have the cash to pay an unexpected $500 medical bill.

In “taking on” medical debt, patients sign only the sort of vague financial agreement that has become ubiquitous in American health care: “I agree to pay for charges my insurance doesn’t cover,” presented on the stack of forms to sign on arrival at an emergency room or a doctor’s office. But no one can fully consider options or say “no” to care while in pain or medical distress or even properly agree to pay an unknown amount.

Student debt causes hardships because it hits people who’ve just started careers, with salaries at the bottom of the pay scale, forcing them to delay life choices, like purchasing a home or starting a family. But medical debt often comes with all that plus medical woes: In a KFF poll, 1 in 7 people with health care debt said they’d been denied care by a provider because of unpaid bills. Sometimes a bill for as little as a few hundred dollars can turn into a collections nightmare.

Already, the federal government is stepping in to assist student loan borrowers. It has paused student debt payments during the pandemic, and the Biden administration has announced that it would forgive student debt for tens of thousands of public sector workers. Late last year, the Department of Education announced that it would no longer contract with outside debt collectors but would instead deal with loan defaults and potential defaults itself to better “support borrowers.”

Medical debt collection has typically been outsourced to aggressive private agents and the for-profit medical debt collection industry; there are few guardrails. Recently, consumer credit reporting agencies have said they will no longer put small medical debts on credit reports and remove medical debts that have been paid. For many people, that will take years. Some 18% of Americans with health care debt said they never expect to be able to pay off their debt.

The irony here is that medical debt is sometimes discharged in bulk by charities, like RIP Medical Debt and church groups, which will pay pennies on the dollar to make patients’ outstanding medical debt disappear. The absurdity of this fix was shown when the comedian John Oliver, in a late-night stunt, cleared $15 million of Americans’ debt after buying it for $60,000.

But medical debt isn’t a joke and now harms a broad swath of Americans. The government could act in the short term to relieve this uniquely American form of suffering by buying the debts for a modest price. And then, it needs to tackle the underlying cause: a health care system that denies millions of people adequate care while still being the most expensive in the world.

This story was produced by KHN (Kaiser Health News), a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

“El presente artículo es propiedad de California Healthline

Rosenthal, E. (2022). The Debt Crisis That Sick Americans Can’t Avoid. California Healthline. Recuperado el 01 de septiembre de 2022, de https://californiahealthline.org/news/article/medical-debt-costs-bankruptcy-college-loan-forgiveness/

California CARE Court bill heads to Newsom

Madison Hirneisein, The Center Square

31 de agosto de 2022

A man stands next to tents on a sidewalk in San Francisco, Tuesday, April 21, 2020.Jeff Chiu / AP

(The Center Square) – California lawmakers gave the final stamp of approval Wednesday to a bill backed by Gov. Gavin Newsom that provides court-ordered treatment plans and supportive services for people on the schizophrenia spectrum or with psychotic disorders.

The bill, which establishes the Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Act, received broad bipartisan support in both chambers of the Legislature, passing in a 62-2 vote in the Assembly and unanimously in the Senate. The bill now heads to Newsom’s desk.

“Today’s passage of the CARE Act means hope for thousands of Californians suffering from severe forms of mental illness who too often languish on our streets without the treatment they desperately need and deserve,” Newsom said in a statement Wednesday.

Backed by cities across the state and strongly opposed by disability rights advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union, the bill would let a person petition for a court-ordered plan that could include behavioral health care, medication, and housing. The petition triggers hearings to develop a treatment plan.

Adults experiencing a severe mental illness like schizophrenia and are either “unlikely to survive safely” without supervision or have a condition that requires support to prevent deterioration could qualify for the program. The CARE plan could last for up to two years, providing services like medication and treatment.

Newsom and others have touted the measure as a way to break the cycle of homelessness and incarceration among people with severe mental problems.

The measure has faced strong opposition from groups within California and across the nation who fear it will result in coerced treatment that would take away a person’s right to make their own care decisions.

Eric Harris, the director of Public Policy with Disability Rights California, told The Center Square Wednesday that the organization still has major concerns about the bill and is “disappointed” in its passage on Wednesday. 

“Forced treatment and not providing guaranteed housing is not going to be beneficial to a lot of these people,” Harris said. “We believe that voluntary treatment options that are robust and guarantee accessible, affordable housing is going to bring out the best results and have people who want to engage in this type of process.”

Harris said the bill was constructed without input from a “large number of disability leaders,” noting that leaders at Disability Rights California “weren’t consulted at all.”

The bill received several amendments in its final days in the Legislature, including one that phases in implementation. The counties of Glenn, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Stanislaus, Tuolumne and the city and county of San Francisco must implement the program by Oct. 1, 2023. The rest of the state has until Dec. 1, 2024.

Other amendments require funding from the Department of Health Care Services and substitute the director of county behavioral health as the petitioner if someone other than the director petitions the court.

As the bill wound its way through the Legislature, lawmakers raised concerns about how the program would be funded and whether counties would have the staffing to handle the program. In the end, the bill won praise from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers for its potential to curb addiction and homelessness.

“This measure, I believe, is the first truly bipartisan attempt to compassionately clear homeless encampments off our streets, sidewalks and highways, to assess the health behavior and needs of homeless individuals and to put together an actual plan to stop the downward spiral that many homeless individuals have so long been on,” Senator Brian Jones, R-Santee, said Wednesday. 

Two lawmakers voted against the measure – Assemblymember Ash Kalra and Mark Stone. In a statement sent to The Center Square, Kalra said he could not support the bill because the program has “missing pieces needed for an effective, sustainable solution.”

“While I echo the urgency to find a solution, if we do not couple permanent housing and wraparound services for our unhoused with severe mental illness, we are setting them up for failure,” Kalra said. 

Newsom has until Sept. 30 to sign the legislation.

“El presente artículo es propiedad de The Center Square

Hirneisen, M. (2022). California CARE Court bill heads to Newsom. The Center Square. Recuperado el 01 de septiembre de 2022, de https://www.thecentersquare.com/california/california-care-court-bill-heads-to-newsom/article_f6f2586e-298c-11ed-bacd-338ce7bcf81f.html

Cada día desaparecen 17 niñas, niños y adolescentes en México: REDIM

Las infancias en México también están afectadas por la desaparición de personas, ya sea porque son víctimas de ella o porque sus familiares o conocidos fueron desaparecidos. Hoy, 17 mil 593 niños, niñas y adolescentes permanecen desaparecidas

Pie de Página

29 de agosto de 2022

Andro Aguilar

CIUDAD DE MÉXICO.- Cada día, a lo largo del año 2021, 17 personas de 0 a 17 años han desaparecido en México, de acuerdo con datos del Informe “La Infancia Cuenta en México 2022 Niñez y Desapariciones”.

Al día de hoy, 17 mil 593 niños, niñas y adolescentes permanecen desaparecidas, de ellas el 55 por ciento son mujeres y el resto son hombres. En promedio, 8 de cada 10 niños, niñas y adolescentes desaparecidos son encontrados con vida. De cada 100 localizados, uno fue encontrado sin vida.

Las infancias están afectadas por la desaparición, ya sea porque son víctimas de ella, como lo refieren los datos arriba mencionados, o porque sus familiares o conocidos fueron desaparecidos.

“Debemos complejizar la desaparición de las infancias porque hay reclutamiento, trata, secuestros y factores expulsores. En estos casos no podemos hablar de una ausencia voluntaria, sino más bien de huida como estrategia de sobrevivencia”, dice el informe.

Las autoridades no han generado información para saber cuántos niños, niñas y adolescentes viven la ausencia de un familiares desaparecido, no se sabe cuántos participan en búsqueda de sus familias. 

En el 2020 había 35 millones de hogares en el país  y, de acuerdo con los datos de personas desaparecidas, uno de cada 352 hogares del país tiene a una persona desaparecida. 

El informe recoge datos estadísticos sobre la desaparición y las infancias buscadoras, así como testimonios de estos niños, niñas y adolescentes. 

Fernando es un niño de 10 años y busca a su tío Tomás Vergara, en el estado de Guerrero. “Mi tío me invitó y yo sí quise ir. De ahí ya me gustó y seguí yendo. Porque me entretiene y sé que las personas desaparecidas van a regresar a su casa con sus familiares, sabes que van a regresar con sus familiares. A mí no me da tristeza. No es triste porque te diviertes, porque es como una aventura”.

Valentina busca a su tío Jesús.

“Mi tío es Jesús Antonio Mena. Desapareció el 29 de junio de 2010, ya casi doce años de que… de esta búsqueda, pues. Sí es algo triste venir, hacer esto, ver a mi abuelita… me gustaría que estuviéramos, pues, así, todos juntos, la verdad”. 

Monse y Jade buscan a su hermana Andrea, en el Estado de México.

“Mi hermana [Jade] cuando desapareció Andrea tenía tres años. Para mi hermana y para mí, para las dos fue muy difícil en el ámbito de que mis papás tenían que estar ausentes, dedicarse a la búsqueda, ir a muchas asociaciones, a hospitales, a centros. Entonces por esa parte como…fue más el abandono por parte de nuestros padres pero se entiende, están buscando a nuestra hermana. Se siente un vacío muy grande en tu familia. Y cuando desaparece un integrante de tu familia se queda ese vacío, esa ausencia, esa tristeza”. 

El informe fue coordinado por Valeria Geremia y Tania Ramírez Hernández, y realizado por la periodista Paula Mónaco, con estadística de Fernando J. Salas Ventura. 

Entre las recomendaciones que el informe plantea están:

Recomendaciones:

  • Crear unidades de análisis de contexto en todas las Fiscalías especializadas y Comisiones Locales de Búsqueda;
  • Incluir a las Comisiones Locales de Búsqueda en las Coordinaciones Estatales de la Alerta Amber y a la Comisión Nacional de Búsqueda en el Comité Nacional del Programa Alerta Amber, para permitir a dichas instituciones detonar la alerta y no tener que esperar a que la detone la Fiscalía correspondiente;
  • Intensificar la capacitación a todas las autoridades involucradas en la aplicación del Protocolo Adicional de Búsqueda de Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes, a través de herramientas de aprendizaje a distancia y presencial (donde necesario), asignando recursos humanos y financieros suficientes para la formación inicial y continua;
  • Crear lineamientos para la participación de niñas, niños y adolescentes en las operaciones de búsqueda de sus familiares, permitiendo su involucramiento de manera amigable, respetuosa de su interés superior y su derecho a la participación, y de forma acorde a su edad;
  • Incluir el tema de la desaparición de personas, y en particular de la situación y riesgos de niños, niñas y adolescentes, entre los contenidos que se imparten por parte de la Secretaría de Educación Pública, como forma de generar espacios de diálogo y visibilización de la problemática. Capacitar a docentes con herramientas para el enfoque más adecuado;
  • Censar, contabilizar o realizar algún estudio estadístico para cuantificar numéricamente a niñas, niños y adolescentes con familiares desaparecidos;
  • -Crear una guía sobre buenas prácticas de crianza, dirigida específicamente a las familias buscadoras, que incluya un conjunto de herramientas de apoyo y asesoramiento para conciliar las tareas de búsqueda con las tareas de cuidado, de una forma que priorice el sano desarrollo y bienestar de niñas, niños y adolescentes, tomando en cuenta su interés superior y derecho a la vida familiar.
  • Mejorar la capacidad operativa y política del SIPINNA y su Comisión para poner fin a toda forma de violencia contra niñas, niños y adolescentes (COMPREVNNA) para enfrentar la grave crisis de violencia; así como para la implementación de políticas públicas que avancen en garantizar la supervivencia y vida digna de la niñez.
  • Promover una amplia conversación pública sobre la idea de “víctimas” en sentido amplio, es decir: que no sólo el hijo o hija de un desaparecido sufre su ausencia.
  • Incluir, escuchar y procurar acompañar así a cientos de miles de niños, niñas y adolescentes en esa situación

Aquí puedes leer el informe completo.

“El presente artículo es propiedad de Pie de Página

Pie de Página. (2022). Cada día desaparecen 17 niñas, niños y adolescentes en México: REDIM. Pie de Página. Recuperado el 31 de agosto de 2022, de https://piedepagina.mx/cada-dia-desaparecen-17-ninas-ninos-y-adolescentes-en-mexico-redim/

CA governor’s mental health care plan for homeless advances

JANIE HAR and ADAM BEAM, AP NEWS

31 de agosto de 2022

FILE – Tents line the streets of the Skid Row area of Los Angeles Friday, July 22, 2022. California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal to steer homeless people with severe mental disorders into treatment was approved by the state Assembly on Tuesday, Aug. 30. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s controversial proposal to steer homeless people with severe mental disorders into treatment cleared the state Assembly on Tuesday and is on its way to becoming law despite objections from civil liberties advocates who fear it will be used to force unhoused residents into care they don’t want.

Homeless people with severe mental health disorders often cycle among the streets, jail and hospitals, with no one entity responsible for their well-being. They can be held against their will at a psychiatric hospital for up to 72 hours. But once stabilized, a person who agrees to continue taking medication and follow up on services must be released.

The bill the state Assembly approved on Tuesday by a 60-2 vote would require counties to set up a special civil court to process petitions brought by family, first responders and others on behalf of an individual diagnosed with specified disorders, such as schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders.

The court could order a plan lasting up to 12 months, and renewable for another 12 months. An individual facing a criminal charge could avoid punishment by completing a mental health treatment plan. A person who does not agree to a treatment plan could be compelled into it. Newsom has said he hopes these courts catch people before they fall into the criminal court system.

The bill represents a new approach for California to address homelessness, a crisis the state has struggled with for decades. The state government spends billions of dollars on the issue each year, only for the public to perceive little progress on the streets.

“I believe that this bill is an opportunity for us to write a new narrative,” said Assemblymember Mike Gipson, a Democrat who voted for the bill.

The bill has now passed both houses of the state Legislature and needs one more vote in the state Senate before it will go to Newsom’s desk. Newsom has until the end of September to sign it into law.

The proposal had broad support from lawmakers who said it was clear California had to do something about the mental health crisis visible along highways and in city streets. Supporters relayed harrowing tales of watching loved ones cycle in and out of temporary psychiatric holds, without a mechanism to stabilize them in a long-term treatment plan.

Republican Assemblymember Suzette Martinez Valladares said her cousin, a Vietnam War veteran, had been living on the streets in a homeless camp before his death.

“I wish that my family had the tools that this bill is going to bring forward so that he might still be alive and with us,” she said. “This is going to save lives. It’s about time.”

Critics of the legislation have maintained that the state lacks enough homes, treatment beds, outreach workers and therapists to care for those who want help, never mind people compelled to take it. They say that people who choose to accept treatment are much more likely to succeed than those coerced into it.

“At what point does compassion end and our desire to just get people off the streets and out of our public sight begins?” said Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, a Democrat who said he reluctantly supported the bill on Tuesday. “I don’t think this is a great bill. But it seems to be the best idea that we have at this point to try to improve a godawful situation.”

The bill says Glenn, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne counties must establish courts by Oct. 1, 2023, with the remainder by Dec. 1, 2024.

Courts could fine counties up to $1,000 a day for non-compliance, which counties believe is unfair if they don’t have enough support from the state in the way of housing and behavioral health workers.

“There will be no perfect solution to this problem. But this is better than doing nothing and it is too easy in a democracy to kick a problem down the road and do nothing,” said Assemblymember Steve Bennett, a Democrat who voted for the bill.

___

Har reported from San Francisco.

“El presente artículo es propiedad de AP NEWS

Har, J. & Beam, A. (2022). CA governor’s mental health care plan for homeless advances. AP NEWS. Recuperado el 31 de agosto de 2022, de https://apnews.com/article/health-california-gavin-newsom-mental-government-and-politics-c52069d7e48de92adf09b783b36bbaee